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Friday, October 19, 2018

Football

Deontay Anderson ready to help hometown team


Deontay Anderson is hoping to contribute to UH’s defense after missing a whole year. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

Football is still football, no matter where it’s being played. But sometimes it feels better playing back at home. Redshirt sophomore safety Deontay Anderson, a graduate from Manvel High School, made his return to Houston after he transferred from Ole Miss. Now, he’s ready to contribute to UH’s efforts this season.

The road back to Houston was long and difficult for Anderson. After graduating high school as a four-star recruit, he took his talents to Ole Miss.

The team went on to earn itself a one-year bowl ban following allegations of allowing boosters to play a significant part in recruiting efforts. Following this, Anderson and his family decided Mississippi was not the best place for his football career to continue.

After playing some his freshman year, Anderson sat out his entire sophomore season before making the decision to transfer. He had a general idea of teams he had interest in, but his decision was made much easier after a quick call from his former teammate D’Eriq King and head coach Major Applewhite.

“Applewhite was the first coach that called me,” Anderson said. “D’Eriq, since we went to the same school, he told me about it. I called Applewhite at like 10:00 at night, and I was admitted next morning.”

Since his transfer, Anderson and the rest of the Cougars have excelled. In the first game against Rice, the defense shut down the Owls’ offense in the second half as UH turned up its own offense. The Cougars’ defense held Arizona scoreless for the first half of the game before the Wildcats scored against the second- and third-string players.

Anderson definitely notices the success of the defense, but he knows where they are now isn’t where they want to be later. After Rice shocked the defense early in the game, UH locked in and kept the Owls to three points in the second half.

“The defense is looking great,” Anderson said. “We just got to stay hungry and humble. I know we still have a lot to work on, I still have a lot to work on.”

If the defense is going to reach the heights that it sees for itself, Anderson will have to be playing at the top of his game. He has two tackles for loss on the season, but he only has one broken up pass. His stats will likely perk up as conference play begins, but for now he’s satisfied with the opportunity to play football again.

“It felt good getting back on the field after not playing at all last year,” Anderson said. “I know I’m still getting my feel around the game. My goal here is to play to the best of my ability, and whatever happens, happens.”

Anderson’s goal is very attainable as he enters this season with newfound focus, but the team itself has loftier goals.

“We’re trying to go undefeated. New Year’s Six bowl,” Anderson said. “We have the type of team, we’re talented enough. Every week we got to go 1-0, dominate our opponent and do what we do.”

The Cougars will have to take it week by week to achieve that goal, but if the first two games of the season are any indication, they might be well on their way to reaching it.  After showing flashes of dominance early in the season, they will have a source of inspiration to look back to. UH has proved it can be one of the top teams in the nation.

Anderson came back to Houston for several reasons: to get a chance to play for a team with bowl aspirations; to continue his passion for football after having to sit out for a season; and to be able to continue that passion from the comfort of his hometown.

“It just wasn’t going right with other schools and one day, I said ‘I’m just going to stay home,’” Anderson said. “I’m glad I chose UH and stayed home.”

If he is able to contribute to the team at a high level, the Cougars will be glad he chose them, too.

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