Ten reasons this man is smiling

11/14/2010 12:00 AM

11/14/2010 12:47 AM

Sometimes, athletes leave Wichita and we lose track of them.

Sometimes, though, they leave, and make themselves impossible to ignore.

Like Ottawa junior wide receiver — and Wichita Southeast product — Clarence Anderson.

His life is pretty good right now. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. On a football field, he's special — The 5-foot-9, 175-pound dynamo already owns nine school records; Career all-purpose yards (4,623), single-season all-purpose yards (2,563 in 2009), career receiving yards (3,059), single- season receiving yards (1,699 in 2009), single-game receiving yards (291), career receptions (278), single-season receptions (94, in 2009), single-season touchdown receptions (21), single-game receiving touchdowns (4).

This season, he has 1,930 all-purpose yards (1,331 receiving, 497 kickoff returns) and 20 touchdowns.

2. His team is good — The Braves entered the NAIA Top 25 poll at No. 23 on Oct. 13, 2008, and haven't left since. Under coach Kent Kessinger, teams with Anderson have gone 28-4 and finished last season ranked No. 5. And in big games, nobody's better than Anderson. His single-game records of 291 yards receiving and four touchdowns came in last year's NAIA playoff win over Hastings, when the Braves had to rally from 28 points down for the win.

3. And so is his brother —His brother, Donald also plays for Ottawa. Last week, the sophomore wide receiver was the NAIA special teams player of the week after blocking two punts, both of which were returned for touchdowns, in a 39-33 win at Bethany. It was the first time in school history an Ottawa player blocked two punts in one game.

"He also can't keep any secrets from me," Clarence said. "I want to know something, I'll just ask. He can't hide anything and we tell each other everything."

4. He learned from the best — Anderson played with another All-American wide receiver last season in Corey Schultz, and it was Batman and Robin without all the angst. Everything Schultz said to Anderson about how to play the position was considered gospel and the two rewrote the record books. Senior All-American quarterback Ethan Haller may have also had a few things to do with it.

5. He loves playing close to home — Playing in the KCAC means his parents get to see every game he plays in. It also means whenever the Braves play at Friends, Bethel, McPherson, Tabor, Bethany or Sterling, mom hits the kitchen.

"When we play that close to home, we'll just go home with my parents after the game and drive back on Sunday," Anderson said. "My mom, she makes this baked macaroni and cheese... there's nothing better."

6. His girlfriend is cool — Anderson's birthday isn't until next Saturday, but his girlfriend, Ottawa soccer player Kelsey Hanna, surprised him this week with an early present. She bought him the new video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops.

"It's kind of hard for me to keep my mind off football, and she knows that," Anderson said. "Playing the game helps me do that. She gets it. She gave me the game right after midnight, and somehow my brother knew she was going to do it and didn't tell me. Amazing."

7. Some people dream they're fast — Anderson has a recurring dream where he catches the ball and... he can't move. Nothing.

"It's the same every time, I get the ball and I'm so slow I can't even take one step," Anderson said. "It's like I'm stuck in mud."

But then he gets to wake up and he's still faster than everybody else again.

8. Did we mention the whole track thing? —Anderson was MVP at the KCAC track and field championships this spring, winning the 100-meter dash, 200, 400 and 400 relay. He also finished third in the long jump and his 200 time of 21.55 set a KCAC meet record.

9. He's the BMOC — Last year, it was Haller and Schultz. This year, it's just Anderson. And he understands the pressure that comes with being The Man.

"People come up to me a lot more on campus, and they want us to win, they want me to play a good game," Anderson said. "And I get it. It lets me know how important the game is to them and it makes me feel good that they want me to succeed."

10. It's a good fit — Schultz and Haller looked at Anderson like he was their little brother and when they used to talk about his accomplishments, their emotion was palpable. Kessinger gushes about how great a person Anderson is. Ask anyone in the Ottawa athletic department about him and the first thing you get is along the lines of: "We just love Clarence. He's amazing."

And just look at that smile.

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