Future watch is a continuing a series of stories breaking down film from the members of Pitt football’s recruiting Class of 2021 by Pittsburgh Sports Now analyst Nick Farabaugh.
Pitt continues to add cornerbacks, as they added Khalil Anderson to their 2021 recruiting class last week. Anderson, who was being heavily recruited by Ole Miss and holds Michigan State, Wake Forest, Kansas State, and Syracuse offers, registered seven interceptions last season at Riverwood High School.
What type of player is Pitt getting in Anderson?
NOTES FROM THE TAPE
• Anderson’s athleticism is striking. He is quick and extremely fast. There is no doubt that he can run with some of the fastest guys at the next level.
• With that athleticism, there is potential for him to be a returner for Pitt in addition to playing cornerback. He’s elusive and slippery in the open field.
• Anderson is explosive. When he is in off-man coverage and has to trigger downhill, look out. He is an absolute missile and gets downhill fast after he triggers.
• He has really good hand placement. Anderson uses his leverage and the sideline as a defender in press coverage, thus taking advantage of his natural tools.
• His football IQ is there already. Anderson can read route concepts and peel off in zones to come down and make plays even out of the defensive structure. His click and close are very good.
• For being 5-foot-11-inches, Anderson has some length to work with. It is not elite by any means, but Anderson can be a pest in press coverage and at the catch point with that length in hand.
• Anderson has some identifiable ball skills out there. He has natural ball tracking ability and you can see him go up and high point these balls when he can. Pitt needs playmakers at the cornerback position, so this is a nice addition.
• He needs to clean up his footwork. There are too many false steps that will bite Anderson at the next level. Even with his recovery speed, that is how cornerbacks get burnt deep.
• Coaches are going to have to teach him how to stay square more often. Anderson gets too antsy to commit to a direction and can lose the leverage off of his shade. That will throw him out of phase and causes him to give up separation at times.
• Anderson has smooth hips. When he flips in and out of transitions they are effortless and efficient. If Anderson does get burnt deep, it will not be because he has tightness in his hips. He is very flexible.
• The hit stick is right in his wheelhouse. Anderson plays a lot of physicality and it is fun to watch. He caused a few fumbles and incompletions just by laying the wood on tape.
• Anderson is a willing participant in run support and makes good form tackles against running backs on the outside.
• There are some inconsistencies against blocks. The real question is if Anderson will able to avoid traffic instead of getting blown off his spot in run support
• As with most high school players, Anderson could stand to add more muscle to his frame. His punches lack some pop in press coverage and going back to the aforementioned block shedding issues, that will help him in that area as well.
FUTURE WATCH OUTLOOK
Anderson has physical tools that pop out right on tape. It is that all-around skill set that really is so intriguing. He is by no means a project. With all that physical upside in mind, Anderson is a good add for a secondary that is losing so much after the 2020 season. However, there are still legitimate questions with Anderson’s footwork that could hold him back at first. In addition, he is a player that needs to add some muscle to his frame.
It is easy to see why teams such as Ole Miss and Michigan State were after Anderson. This is a good player on film that can make an immediate impact. With such an advanced mental game to pair with the natural tools, Pitt fans should be excited about Anderson.