Wyoming’s Staff Sticks With Texas QB Despite Two ACL Tears
LARAMIE -- His stomach dropped. The physical pain intensified.
Instantly, he knew his right ACL, for the second time in his young career, was torn. The first injury served as a setback. The latest, potentially life altering.
Kaden Anderson was once considered one of the top-rated quarterbacks in talent-rich Texas. Now, his football future was in limbo as he grasped his knee on the sideline after a harmless-looking play.
"I landed a little weird and I knew immediately what had happened," he said, followed by a slight head shake.
Before his mind drifted off to the rocky road to recovery that lie ahead, Anderson had a more pressing question sink in.
"That was the first thought that went through my head," the 6-foot-4, 221-pound signal caller said, referring to whether or not Wyoming, a school he committed to just before the season began, would pull his scholarship offer. "Luckily, these guys stuck with me and I'm extremely grateful for that."
Anderson said his mind was put at ease a couple days later with a single phone call from Oscar Giles, the Cowboys' defensive tackles coach and main recruiter in the Lone Star State.
He was still in the Pokes' plans. Giles told him to focus on rehabilitation.
"I really kind of fell into a little depression," Anderson admitted. "My mom was crying and, you know, I shed a little grown-man tear, too. You know, I'm just so thankful that these guys stuck with me. If not, I don't know where I would be if they had pulled my offer. I'd probably be a frat boy somewhere."
In fact, UW offensive coordinator Tim Polasek was the next number to appear on Anderson's caller ID. He asked the senior if he would be interested in coming to Laramie early. If so, he could get a head start on learning the playbook, bonding with his new teammates and having the services of a round-the-clock sports medicine staff.
It was a no-brainer.
"I knew it was the right decision," Anderson said. "Coming early is probably one of the best decisions I've ever made, because, you know, your second semester of your senior year, you're not really doing much and you're not really locked in."
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Craig Bohl is ultimately in charge of which players can speak with the media each week during the spring and regular season. Typically, a true freshman who won't be seeing the field anytime soon, wouldn't make the cut.
Wyoming's head coach made an exception when it comes to Anderson, pointing to his maturity level.
Anderson knows full well what it's like to be in the spotlight. He was thrust into the glare during his junior season at football factory, Southlake Carroll High School, when the top-ranked recruit in the country decided to leave early thanks to a lucrative off-the-field deal.
That man was Quinn Ewers. He was destined for Ohio State, but thanks to Texas state laws that prohibited prep athletes from cashing in on their name, image and likeness, he was out. Anderson was in.
He responded by throwing for 3,036 yards and 34 touchdowns while leading the Dragons to a 14-1 record and a trip to the state semifinals.
With stats like those, accolades flooded in.
Anderson was named to the 4-6A First Team All-District squad. Before the 2022 season, The Dallas Morning News listed him as one of the top recruits in the state. Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine called him one of the Top 10 QB prospects, referring to Anderson a "sleeper" and stating "He has the size and can spin it with the best of them."
Anderson tossed 14 touchdowns and threw for 1,113 yards while leading Southlake Carroll to a 6-0 record to begin his senior season. It was in the third quarter of a Week-7 meeting with Keller that Anderson suffered that fateful setback. His high school career was over.
"His healing is going to be really important," said Bohl, adding that Anderson will not be available this spring and will likely not be cleared this fall, either. "Like I said, this system we have, the terminology and all the moving parts, for him to be in those meetings (will be beneficial)."
National powers like Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU once flirted with Anderson. The letters and phone calls eventually stopped.
That's fine with Anderson. He said he has found his new home.
"I'm just going to soak it all up and take it slow with the rehab," he said. "I mean, there's no rush to come back. I'm just learning the playbook right now and getting the offense down, trying to gel and mesh with the guys a little bit.
"When Wyoming offered me, I had a little feeling that this was kind of the place. This place is pretty special."
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players