Don’t sleep on DA.
Darius Anderson is a star running back in a conference full of them, a sleeping giant who is having to fight to prove he’s not just one of the best players in the conference, but the best Anderson in a Big 12 backfield this fall, with Rodney putting up big numbers three hours up the road from Fort Worth.
The junior running back burst onto the scene as a true freshman when he averaged a ridiculous 8.5 yards per carry, albeit in limited attempts, but appeared primed for a breakout campaign as a sophomore when he torched the vaunted Arkansas defense for 105 yards and a nail a touchdown. Two weeks later, he announced himself to the world with a three touchdown, 160 performance against a top ten Oklahoma State team, propelling the Horned Frogs to victory in Stillwater for the first time in program history.
Darius didn’t disappoint as the Big 12 schedule carried on; though he didn’t reach 100 yards the rest of the season, he finished with eight touchdowns and 768 yards despite playing in just 11 games (he was injured against Oklahoma). Anderson flashed brilliance, and with question marks abounding along the offensive line and at the quarterback position, the onus is on him to perform at a high level. He doesn’t mind. “I just look at it as motivation. But, at the end of the day. I just want the national championship. I want to win with my team.”
It would be easy for guys like Anderson, Sewo Olonilua, Jalen Reagor, and KaVontae Turpin to play the disrespect card; after all, none of the Frogs’ skill position stars were recognized on the Big 12’s preseason All-Conference list. But, then again, no one from the TCU offense was (though Turpin did make the cut as a return man). But DA isn’t falling for that, and isn’t one to complain - other than a simply worded tweet, that is:
Maybe the comment was meant to reflect his surprise at not be included on the list, but, more than likely, it was as much about the absence of his teammates as himself. Flashy on the field, DA is not much of a talker off of it, using his natural swagger to motivate his team, not showcase himself. “That’s just who I am. I use it as positivity to help the team.” Everything about him is team first, and team success. Despite being “The Guy”, Darius is always willing to help his teammates improve - knowing that every improvement pushes them closer to their goal. “I know it’s very important to teach the younger guys. From having that experience, I am trying to teach them and help them improve so they can have the best games and help us win.”
Anderson’s team-first attitude isn’t just talk, he lives it out on the field, according to Coach Patterson, who spoke after Saturday’s practice. “To be honest, not many times can we get a running back, because of their attitude, to play special teams. But both him (Emari Demercado) and Sewo (Olonilua) are playing special teams, and Darius plays on kickoff returns.” Seeing a pair of star running backs on special teams units says a lot about the mindset of the team, and speaks volumes on the character of the individual players.
Darius Anderson is a special player - the picture perfect vision of what a collegiate running back should look like. Pairing his lightning with the thundering Sewo Olonilua - the two competitors are also the best of friends - makes for a terrifying thought in the minds of defensive coordinators. And, if the offensive line gets up to speed quickly - something both Anderson and Olonilua have said does not concern them at all - the TCU offense could be primed to return to their high-flying ways. But again, for the Frogs’ junior running back, it’s not about the numbers - well, except for the one in the win column. He’s got goals, sure, but there’s one goal that supersedes the rest. “Improving overall, of course, but I want to take my team to the farthest level. Stay healthy, which will hopefully help me help the team.”
For Darius Anderson, September 1st can’t come soon enough. “I am as excited as can be. I am ready. I worked really hard - I just want to see what I can do and help my team.”
You can watch our interview with Darius in its entirety below: