Newberry College transfer RB Mario Anderson Jr. (5-9 210) spent Friday afternoon at USC talking with several coaches and watching bowl practice. Before leaving campus and heading back to his home in Summerville, the Stratford grad landed an offer from Gamecock head coach Shane Beamer and running backs coach Montario Hardesty.
That capped quite a day for Anderson at the USC football facilities.
“Went to the locker room, the whole facility and everything, met with Coach Mo, offensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, all the coaches, met with everybody,” Anderson said. “I went into the film room with Coach Mo and the running backs and had an inside look at everything. I had a little bit of time with Coach Mo before practice and went over some stuff he likes and what he expected and certain things that he wanted. After that, went to the practice and talked to a couple of coaches and some of the guys. After practice, I went upstairs and talked to Coach Beamer, and coach knowing everything, and that’s really how it was.”
Anderson watched the Gamecocks running backs closely in practice and saw more about how the running game there works in the film room.
“A lot of the zone gap schemes that they run, lot of stretching plays that they run,” Anderson said. “I think the big guys up front are very tremendous, and I like what I see out of them. The running back room is very talented and versatile. I liked everything that I saw. They utilize the players to their maximum capacity and that’s what I like to see.”
Anderson was a D2 All-American this season after rushing for 1560 yards and 19 touchdowns. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry. He knows there are those who will question whether he could ever be successful in a league like the SEC.
“I’m coming. That’s it. I’m coming. My work speaks for itself. I’m coming,” Anderson said without confirming if he had committed to Beamer and Hardesty. “I’d rather not say right now. I’d rather keep that under wraps. I’m not saying I did. I’m not saying I did not. I think people will hear something from me very soon. Let’s just say when kids open up their Christmas gifts.”
Anderson would be the feel-good story of the recruiting class for USC. An overlooked player three years ago who had a taste of recruiting by the previous Gamecock staff, only to become a part of their 2023 class.
“There was a time when I spoke with coach (Bobby) Bentley, and I went up to USC for an unofficial visit and watched a game, so I believed they showed some kind of interest,” he said. “If I was to tell you that I thought I’d be playing football in college, that would be a lie. My journey, my story is quite different than a lot of people’s stories and journeys. The opportunity that has been presented to me, I can only thank the man above. He has blessed me in so many ways that are unbelievable. Without him for testing my faith, for testing how strong I am, I wouldn’t be nothing without him. My family, my mom, those are my biggest supporters, my inner circle. I can’t thank my people enough for what I’ve done. I’m not going to say I was the biggest Gamecock fan because I didn’t think I was going to be in school. But I love being home. I love home. I love South Carolina. I love Summerville, South Carolina. I’m excited to see what’s in store for me, what God has in store for me, I will say that.”