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2017 OL Jack Anderson Becomes 5-Star, Sets New Goal to Be 'Top 10 in the Nation'

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystJuly 22, 2015

Credit: 247Sports

Jack Anderson is just approaching his junior season, but he may already be the meanest dude in Texas high school football.

"I do my best to make sure people don't want to line up across from me," the 6'4 ½", 285-pound offensive lineman told Bleacher Report.

Anderson owns that persona when he steps onto the field, presenting a fearsome task for opponents.

"I play mean and physical. That style of play intimidates people and wears them down during a game. It's a style of play I'm proud of," he said.

It's a style of play that, when combined with his outstanding technique and impressive physical stature, earned Anderson 5-star status in 247Sports' composite rankings. He is one of only 29 prospects in the 2017 recruiting class to land on that list, which is established via average ratings from the industry's leading services.

Check another accomplishment off the list for Anderson.

"It feels great to finally earn it. Always been a goal of mine. ... Definitely the next step for me," he said.

Anderson became a rare early-invite competitor at The Opening this month. He joined more than 160 of the country's premier college football prospects at Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, competing alongside a pack predominately filled with rising high school seniors.

"I've always been confident in my abilities, starting as a freshman in high school and getting the college attention early, but it's an honor to compete at The Opening as a younger player," Anderson said  "It was actually super surprising, but [Opening coach] Todd Huber told me he thought I was one of the top 20 offensive linemen in the nation."

Punching his ticket to the event was one thing. Meeting increased expectations there presented a whole new challenge.

"It's a big thing for any underclassman, especially in the trenches," Anderson said. "It teaches you mental and physical toughness because they don't take it easy in these drills. It's a man's game."

Rashan Gary, the top overall 2016 prospect, impressed as a youngster last summer at The Opening. He returned this month to claim defensive line MVP honors and believes similar success could await Anderson.

"It's going to be huge for him to get two opportunities out here," Gary said in Beaverton. "It's something I was grateful for, and I definitely used it to my advantage. He could be one of the nation's best this time next year."

If Anderson does live up to that top billing, he can thank Gary for a few lessons.

"I got some reps against Rashan, and they were humbling experiences for sure," Anderson said. "He's the real deal. It wasn't easy, but those are opportunities that help you grow as a player."

LSU defensive tackle commit Caleb Roddy, another Opening attendee, already sees immense potential.

"Jack was getting after it, man. For being a younger guy in the group, he did great out there and stopped some of the big-time 2016 players," Roddy said. "He got [Alabama commit] Kendell Jones a couple times."

Anderson managed to earn respect from several elite peers, many of whom will take on large roles with college programs as early as next year.

"I definitely saw not to underestimate him," Roddy said. "Some of those younger players who have a lot of hype get exposed at big events. He definitely stepped up to the plate."

Tommy Kraemer, a 4-star offensive tackle pledged to Notre Dame, echoed those sentiments. 

"Jack is already a very good player, and I think he'll only continue to get better," Kraemer said. "It's pretty sweet for him to have an opportunity to come out to The Opening as a '17 guy and compete against the best in America. If he continues to work on his game, he's going to be really tough on defensive linemen for a long time."

Anderson held his own against older opponents at The Opening.
Anderson held his own against older opponents at The Opening.Credit: 247Sports

So where will Anderson intimidate folks at the next level?

His list of scholarship offers features more than 40 universities though he aims to trim things down to "10-15" favorites in the near future. Anderson, set to visit Texas A&M on July 27, said it's "safe to say" the Aggies, Oklahoma and Texas Tech will make the cut.

Texas, TCU and Baylor are additional in-state teams attempting to remain in this race. Florida, Penn State, LSU, Georgia, UCLA, USC and Ole Miss each extended offers this spring.

For now, he's focused on sharpening his craft when it comes to footwork and pass protection. Those efforts should add up to another Opening invite next summer.

"This year at The Opening was about getting used to the process and learning from a lot of people," Anderson said. "Next year, it's all gas and no brakes. I expect to be the best lineman there."

Now that his fate as a 5-star is sealed, Anderson immediately decided to push the bar higher.

"Sounds like it's time to set some new goals," he said. "Hopefully, I can be top 10 in the nation soon."

Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.