With stud running back Blake Watson graduating and entering the 2024 NFL Draft, Memphis desperately needed some help in the running back room. Silverfield got his guy in Mario Anderson, a transfer from South Carolina. Anderson ranks as the 10th-best transfer running back in On3’s portal rankings. Here’s the rundown on what you need to know about the South Carolina native.
At the age of 22, Mario Anderson is a true college football veteran, with 2024 being his sixth season of college football. He will likely win the starting job for the Tigers and receive a large bulk of the carries. As offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey showed in 2023, he’s not afraid to force-feed his best player. Expect a similar workload for Anderson in 2024 as Watson received in 2023.
Anderson is a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. That was especially true during this miraculous catch-and-run touchdown against Florida that got him on SportsCenter. His vision, patience, contact balance, physicality, and deep speed were all on display in this unreal touchdown run against Vanderbilt.
Unlike Watson, Anderson is not a significant threat in the receiving game, posting only 22 catches in 2023. He averaged only 12 carries a game but still led South Carolina in rushing yards with 707. Expect both numbers to nearly double in 2024 as Anderson looks to be a true bellcow running back.
The Importance of Anderson
Other than the fact that Anderson will be one of the best running backs in college football, this commitment is monumental for Silverfield because of the Tigers’ competition for Anderson’s signature. His top three schools were Memphis, USC, and Oklahoma. College football’s bluebloods don’t typically lose players to schools like Memphis. Signings like these are what keep the Memphis faithful enthusiastic about next season. Silverfield being a thorn in the side of large programs is also very exciting for Tiger football fans.
In college football, past success stories are as impactful as anything in recruiting. Anderson left South Carolina looking to be a lead back on a team where he could show his talent and make it to the NFL. Luckily, Memphis has demonstrated they can routinely send backs to the league with players like Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard, and Kenny Gainwell. Expect this trend of transfer running back one-and-dones to continue at Memphis long after Mario Anderson graduates.