HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Though soft-spoken, Steven Anderson hits hard.
A "violent" runner as Southern Miss teammate Keon Howard describes him, perhaps Anderson is making up for all those years spent at quarterback.
"Steven runs like he doesn't want to be hit no more," Howard said.
The high school quarterback was hesitant when coach Jay Hopson first approached him with the idea of playing running back. However, Anderson has taken the suggestion and ran with it.
"Honestly, my first thoughts I was kind of scared, or not wanting to do it because I played quarterback all my life," Anderson said. "But once I did it in the spring and started going and taking reps at it, I felt pretty comfortable and I ended up liking it. To be honest, I love it. It's fun, easy. It was an easy transition for me and I'm just having fun at it. I feel like I fit right in with it."
Anderson was recruited to USM as a quarterback out of Live Oak, Florida. The all-state player at Suwannee High says what's helped his transition is that both positions handle the football routinely.
Hopson is pleasantly surprised to see Anderson adapt so quickly to the backfield.
"You know [Anderson]'s just making plays," said Hopson following USM's spring game. "He runs physical, he's a load. I think he's going to be a great football player here. He gets better every day. He's just kind of learning the running back position but he's a natural athlete. And he's got all the dimensions – size, speed, he blocks well out of the backfield. I think the sky's the limit for Steven. [I'm] looking forward to watching him develop as a running back. I think it's going to be fun to watch."
"Like me and [offensive coordinator Shannon] Dawson were saying, with a guy that big just running, constantly running, and running over linebackers, sooner or later they're going to get tired of trying to hit you," Howard said. "He's running violent right now. He got his shoulder pads down. Steven's running pretty good, man."
With seniors Tez Parks (210 lbs), George Payne (207 lbs) and T'Rod Daniels (175 lbs) all floating around the 200-pound mark, Anderson is a bruiser at 240 pounds. The sophomore adds another dimension to the Golden Eagle backfield.
"We got guys that can go," Anderson said. "We got speed, we got Tez, we got T'Rod, we got two power backs, me, George and we even got Andre [Hale II]. We've got five backs and I think we have another one coming in. We have depth. We're going to have a lot of fresh legs for a lot of games. I think every guy can get the job done at the running back position. So, it's a lot of competition every day and that's what I like because you get to compete every day at practice."