Ryan Anderson has been a game changer on special teams the last two seasons for Division III Olivet College.
The DeWitt graduate and All-American punter is now hoping to do the same on a bigger stage.
Anderson committed Sunday to finish his college football career in the Big Ten at Rutgers University as a graduate transfer.
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” Anderson said of playing in the Big Ten. “It didn’t work out that way right out of high school. I decided to continue playing receiver, so that’s why I went up to Saginaw Valley State and then over to Olivet after that. Life comes full circle. It’s a blessing to be able to realize this dream, even though I am doing it a little older than I would have liked. It’s a blessing to realize it finally.”
The Division I opportunity for Anderson comes after two strong seasons at Olivet where he helped the Comets capture a pair of MIAA titles. He earned All-American honors after averaging 41.8 yards per punt two seasons ago as a sophomore.
The last two years have been nothing short of amazing winning two championships at Olivet… https://t.co/vjpWHJSIvj— Ryan Anderson (@RMAThePunter) January 29, 2017
Thank you to all of those who have supported me! I'm honored to say I will be playing my last year of football at Rutgers University! #B1G— Ryan Anderson (@RMAThePunter) January 29, 2017
Anderson set a NCAA Division III record last fall by averaging 46.2 yards per punt. That total would have ranked sixth in Division I. Anderson booted a long punt of 65 yards and had 18 of his 47 kicks travel more than 50 yards. He also landed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line while helping Olivet reach the Division III playoffs for the second time in school history.
“I was always probably a better punter than I was a receiver honestly, but coming from DeWitt we didn’t punt often,” Anderson said. “Not a lot of people knew me as a punter, they just knew me as a receiver who was catching all the touchdowns. When I got to Olivet and started really focusing on my craft and after the first time I got All-American, I kind of started to realize I actually have the potential to continue on to play at the next level at this. I really started to travel a little bit around the country to train and kind of just escalated my game between last season and this season. Now I look to escalate it even further before next season.”
Anderson is looking forward to trying to find similar success as a punter at the Division I level. And he’s also hopeful of getting more exposure to improve his chances at continuing to kick beyond college.
“Exposure is everything,” Anderson said. “As far as statistically speaking, punting and kicking is a numbers game. My numbers were ranked right up there with all the Division I guys. They all did it on the bigger stage and I just happened to be doing it at a Division III school. There was nothing wrong with that. I absolutely loved my experience at Olivet College. Just being able to hopefully have the same season or a better season this year at a bigger school will do wonders for me and hopefully be able to give me more possible NFL opportunities.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.