Clarence Anderson's numbers reveal a monster season — his 1,441 total yards of offense lead the nation — but it was a simple talk from his quarterback that helped turn the sophomore wide receiver from No. 7-ranked Ottawa from good into a game-breaker.
"My freshman year I was just okay, nothing special," Anderson said. "But this summer Ethan (Haller) took me aside and explained to me what type of a quarterback he was and what he expected out of me ... it made a huge difference, he really just took me under his wing and we went from there. He's a great leader and it's a blessing to have him on this team."
Under the tutelage of Haller — Ottawa's all-time passing leader — and senior wide receiver Corey Schultz, Anderson has been the breakout star in a breakout season for the Braves, who are 7-0 and trying for their first KCAC title since 2003.
"There's been a big buzz around our team all year," Anderson said. "Last year, we had a great team, but this year we have such high expectations that it seems like there's always another goal we need to reach."
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Anderson is close to reaching — and breaking — Ottawa's single-season receiving mark of 1,083 set by Kim Hendrix in 1978.
Anderson has 949 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns to lead the KCAC with three regular season games left. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Wichita Southeast product also returns punts and kicks.
"If I had to compare myself to someone, I'd say I'm like a Percy Harvin-type, not just playing wide receiver but special teams, too, which I think is one of the most important aspects of the game," Anderson said. "But it's not just me, it's everybody putting in the extra work during the week. The chemistry we have on this team is pretty incredible."
There is some irony in Anderson putting so much emphasis on special teams this season as that's where his younger brother, Daniel, a freshman wide receiver, gets the majority of his playing time.
" (Daniel) is playing pretty good," Anderson said. "It's kind of neat because I really look at Corey like he's my older brother and then I actually have my younger brother, my family, here with me. It's pretty special."