It didn’t take strong observation skills to recognize the potential of Joliet Catholic running back Jordan Anderson when he made his varsity debut with the Hilltoppers as a sophomore in 2019.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder showed impressive skills in running for more than 1,000 yards in a somewhat limited role as a sophomore, and not surprisingly, Division I interest in Anderson started to trickle in.
That trickle became a steady flow of offers after Anderson showed even more potential in this spring season. On Thursday, Anderson announced his commitment to the University of Illinois and coach Bret Bielema on Twitter.
Anderson topped 1,000 yards in this spring’s six-game season, and considering many of Joliet Catholic’s results were lopsided, Anderson did not get that heavy of a workload.
What work he did get, he excelled with, frequently topping 200 yards rushing a game and often doing so with between 10 and 15 carries. Anderson has rushed for almost 2,100 yards and 32 touchdowns in 18 career varsity games.
Those bursts didn’t go unnoticed in recruiting circles. But until recently, offers from Power Five Division I programs had not come in.
But Anderson got his first from Illinois, which has been making a strong push to keep the state’s top talent at home since hiring Bielema this offseason. Anderson liked the message and positive support enough to make a commitment to the Fighting Illini on Thursday.
“The coaching staff really did a good job giving me the sense that we would have a great relationship,” Anderson said. “Which is what I wanted. Turning a program around is something I wanted to be a part of.”
The process from offer to commitment was less than a month for Anderson, but once he saw what he liked, he saw no advantages to waiting around longer.
“I didn’t want to wait too long once I found what I wanted,” Anderson said.
Anderson will be a part of a what appears to be a wave of Illinois-based talent that has been committing to the Fighting Illini. Brother Rice tight end Henry Boyer also committed to the Illini on Thursday.
“I think Coach B has done a great job, him and the coaching staff, of making connections,” Anderson said. “He has a relationship with everyone in that program, and they did an excellent job of connecting with me. They all talked to me, texted me, and talked with my family, and it just meant a lot to me and my family. I didn’t feel the need to wait too long, because there wasn’t anything to wait on.”