Homestead coach Philip Simpson first met Dante Anderson as an eighth-grader. The character traits stuck with Anderson while his frame continued to grow.
“You’re talking about one of the more humble, consistent kids I’ve ever been around,” Simpson said. “He’s never changed for the good in terms of character. He was this scrawny, really long-armed eighth grader. I said, ‘Man this kid is going to be huge one day.’ And he seemed a bit insecure at the beginning, when he never was really insecure. You talk about the word humility. This kid just takes the backseat, he puts everybody in front of him. His personality is very humbling. He’s kind of just been the same kid for the last five years that I’ve known him.”
Anderson may be humble but his play on the football field has spoken volumes. The Homestead defensive end recorded 30 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior in 2020, and he followed it up with 45 tackles and 14 sacks as a senior. Anderson is committed to FSU, likely as a walk-on as he was not announced as one of the Seminoles’ 15 signees a week ago. (FSU coach Mike Norvell, the staff and school officials are not allowed by NCAA rules to comment on Anderson.)
The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Anderson was considered a four-star prospect and weighed interest from Miami, Indiana and other schools before deciding to follow his good friend, Homestead defensive tackle Daniel Lyons, to FSU. Lyons and Anderson visited FSU in June for a camp, and Simpson said Anderson wanted to stay in state to attend school and play football.
Anderson will enroll at FSU in January, has a 3.0 grade point average and has “always been a strong academic guy,” Simpson said. It’s clear he has brought a work ethic to what he has done on and off the field. And when it comes to football, Simpson said Anderson flashes but isn’t flashy.
“Pretty quiet for a guy his stature and his success he had in high school,” Simpson said. “You think you would get more of a flamboyant or loud kid but you don’t. He is so consistent on a football field. He doesn’t miss workouts. … His consistency, his commitment, he’s definitely a really good, hard-working kid across the board.”
Simpson played on the defensive line at Temple in the mid-2000s and said he views Anderson as a true defensive end, an edge rusher who could eventually add weight and get up to 250 pounds. (You can watch his Hudl highlights here.)
It will take some time in FSU’s strength and conditioning program, but Simpson thinks Anderson has the work ethic to quickly add good weight. Simpson thinks college coaches have fallen in love with defensive ends in the transfer portal as they seek plug-and-play types who can be immediately impactful. Norvell and the staff have done just that with the likes of Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas, but defensive ends coach John Papuchis has also been praised for helping to develop young players like Derrick McLendon and Quashon Fuller.
Anderson could be a valuable addition to the Seminoles, who are reshaping the roster and stockpiling talent and depth for 2022 and beyond.
“I think this kid physically is gonna be a late bloomer,” Simpson said. “Where somebody is going to say, ‘What the hell. When did this happen?’ That’s my honest opinion. I think he is going to blow up.”