NEW ORLEANS — It’s just past noon on a Friday in August and Andre Anthony is doing what any LSU freshman outside linebacker is doing at this time of the year … practicing.
But Anthony isn’t preparing for the Sept. 3 opener against Wisconsin with the rest of his teammates in Baton Rouge, La. Instead, the former blue-chip prospect, who was one of the benchmarks in the Tigers’ third-ranked signing class in 2016, is working out under the watch of a private trainer in New Orleans’ Harrell Park.
The NCAA ruled Anthony ineligible last week in response to an issue regarding his high school coursework, leading the LSU coaches to dish out an academic redshirt. Anthony will enroll at LSU for the fall semester and join the team in March for spring ball.
But waiting isn’t an option for Anthony.
While eligibility may be out of Anthony’s control, his future at LSU remains very well within his grasp. He reached out to local trainer Brandon Jordan, a famed defensive line coach from the area, to prepare him for what lies ahead.
As Anthony shined in agility drills, his new coach has noticed something much bigger about the future Tiger.
“Dre’ is a beast,” Jordan told SEC Country following Friday’s workout. “He’s doing real well. He’s a very coachable kids that works for perfection. He’s trying to turn this negative into a positive and become the best player that he can be while sitting out. He’s hungry.”
Adversity is nothing out of the norm for Anthony.
Last summer, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association ruled him ineligible for the first three games of his senior season because of his transfer from Miller-McCoy Academy to Edna Karr High School. That transfer remains a thorn in the former 4-star recruit’s side.
Anthony transferred to Karr in February 2015 when he became aware that Miller-McCoy was shutting down that May. To get a head start on his coursework, Anthony made the move to another high school, but was eventually hit was the three-game ban nonetheless.
Whether it’s the NCAA or the LHSAA keeping Anthony on the sidelines, he refuses to lose sight of his goals.
“I overcome adversity. In fact, I’m known for overcoming a lot of adversity,” Anthony, the No. 15 weak-side defensive end in the 2016 class, told SEC Country. “It’s how you handle it, not how it affects you. I never let my current situation determine my final destination because I know that it’s all part of God’s plan for me. Everything happens for a reason, so I’m just being patient and leaving it all in God’s hands.”
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound edge rusher has maintained a solid focus on sharpening his skill-set and preparing for LSU’s spring practice. With Jordan at the helm, Anthony is performing the same workouts his future teammates are going through at fall camp.
Jordan has helped train NFL and college football standouts such as Ryan Brown (Mississippi State, Cincinnati Bengals); Anthony Johnson (LSU, New England Patriots); Royce LaFrance (Tulane, New Orleans Saints) and Lamin Barrow (LSU, Chicago Bears). He’s putting Anthony through the same sort of footwork, hip and acceleration drills as he did with those other big-name stars.
Anthony has not only caught the attention of the trainer with his lateral quickness and violent hips, but has impressed Jordan more so with his attitude.
“I know what it seems like, but he’s a humble kid that doesn’t complain much. He just rolls with the punches,” Jordan said. “I think he’s handled this all very well. He was saying this would be a good way for him to get a good start on his academics that can carry him through his college career. He’s very mature for his age.”
Jordan, who is coming off a three-year stint as a defensive assistant at Austin Peay, plans on continuing to work out with Anthony throughout the summer until the soon-to-be freshman has to report to Baton Rouge, La., for fall classes. He expects to be a busy man for the next week or so.
The trainer was wowed that Anthony is more than ready to compete in the SEC. That kind of praise has yet to resonate with Anthony, who is anxious to see the outcome of the hard work.
“I’m going to come out stronger because of it,” Anthony promised.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tiger Stadium.