With Spring practices quickly approaching, the 2014 recruiting cycle is now in full swing & QB Kilton Anderson’s (Naples HS/6’3, 205) name has surfaced on several top-tier recruiting hot boards. I caught up with Kilton after he returned from Alabama’s Jr. Day last Saturday [2/23] to pick his brain about the recruiting process & see which programs are actively pursuing his talents.
But first let’s begin with Anderson’s Sophomore coming out party.
On November 10th, 2011 Naples squared off against the S. Ft. Myers Wolfpack in the 2011 Florida 6A Regional Quarterfinal. After Naples’ Sr. QB Billy Crook caught the injury bug in the 2nd Quarter, Soph. Kilton Anderson was thrust into the limelight. Anderson embraced the moment, orchestrating a 99-yard 3rd Quarter TD drive with veteran-like poise. Anderson iced the game in the 4th with a 44-yard jaunt to the house. The Sophomore finished with 118 rushing yards on 14 touches (8.4yrds/carry) in the 49-13 trouncing of S. Ft. Myers. (highlight video below)
After successfully leading Naples (12-1; 3-1) to the 2012 6A Semifinals Anderson’s stock continues to soar. Some scouts have overlooked the 17th ranked QB in Florida because his stats aren’t gaudy, despite leading Class 6A in scoring with 270 points. When I asked Anderson about his stats he noted, “I passed for 1,288-yards & rushed for 839-yards. This is where I have a problem with stats; they don’t point out that we beat our opponents by 40+ points/game last season so I didn’t see the second half in 8 out of 13 games.” Another issue is the tendency for coaches & scouts to favor larger media markets like Tampa & Miami, overlooking Naples as a piece of the I-75 South recruiting corridor.
Anderson also commented on the 2012 season & recruiting during our Q&A, “I believe what is being overlooked is that I stepped in & led my team to State twice. Every critic chose Immokalee to whip us because they had 8 D-1 players. We beat them 55-29. Then it was S. Ft. Myers. I punched it in four times in the second half, erasing a 21-14 deficit. Next, we handled 13 D-1 athletes in Mainland. We squared off against Miami Central in the State Semi-Finals. We had them [Miami Central] until the 3rd Quarter. We should have had that one. I have been playing football for 6 years & have only lost twice. Twice was two times too many & I’m positive Coach Taggart would agree.”
Next I asked Anderson for his thoughts & feelings about playing for new HC Willie Taggart & he responded, “Coach Taggart doesn’t care about media hype. He values how each player fits into his program & how passionate the player is about his team. That is old school coaching & I like that. The bottom line is finding a school & team where you feel valued & supported. I also like that players from Florida dominate USF’s roster. I would like to meet Coach Taggart & see for myself why players with offers from big BCS programs opted to play for him. Plus Coach Taggart was a record-setting Quarterback; he understands the intricacies of the position.”
What truly impresses me about Anderson is his off-the-field demeanor. After Naples Daily News columnist Adam Fisher wrote an article that tagged Anderson as “The Man” for the Eagles, Anderson sent him a thank you letter that prompted Fisher to publish another piece the next day. In the article Fisher noted, “What I didn’t include in the story is that he’s [Anderson] also a good kid. Nice, polite, genuine. When I did a story in the preseason about him taking over as “The Man” at Naples, he gave me a hand-written thank you note. Never in my years as a sportswriter (all eight of them) have I gotten a thank you note from the subject of a feature. You don’t see that from many teenagers these days.” I cannot possibly agree more with Fisher’s statements & feel coaches will be truly impressed by this well-mannered, hardworking & driven student-athlete.
by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle
Kilton’s Sophomore Coming Out Party