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September 1, 2011

Anderson earns scholarship

Pitt freshman walk-on quarterback Trey Anderson has been awarded a scholarship, head coach Todd Graham announced on Thursday.

Anderson arrived at Pitt two days before the start of training camp; by the end of camp, he was listed as the top backup at quarterback. On Pitt's official depth chart, Anderson is listed as a co-backup with redshirt freshman Mark Myers, but Graham said Anderson would be the first quarterback off the bench.

"Trey is a little operator; he does a great job operating, very accurate with his intermediate passing game and can throw the ball as well," Graham said at his weekly press conference on Monday. "The first [backup in the game], if something happened, would be Trey."

Perhaps due to the surprise factor - as well as his size, 6'0" 180 - Anderson was one of Pitt's most impressive players during training camp, displaying a strong arm, good mobility, and a nearly-uncanny understanding of Pitt's new offense, which was similar to the system he ran in high school.

"He's still not a very big kid, but in our offense, if they're six-feet tall and they have the skill set for what we do, then we don't really care about that," said Pitt quarterbacks coach Todd Dodge, who was instrumental in getting Anderson to Pitt.

"He is exceeding expectations from the standpoint of making the game slow down for himself as a young player. He has tremendous intangibles, a lot of moxie, a lot of 'keep-the-play-alive' ability. He's nothing to write home about yet, but we've been really pleased. And I think he has gained some respect, even from his older teammates, in a very short time."

At Pearland (Tex.), Anderson orchestrated an undefeated run to the state championship in 2010 and put up impressive stats along the way, throwing for 2,898 yards and 25 touchdowns and rushing for 442 yards and six more scores.

He played an integral role in Pearland's title run, throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score.

"He's a winner," Graham said during training camp. "I expected him to come in and be a good player, but his maturity as a freshman is what has really surprised me more than anything. He's un-wavered by big-time college football; he's running it just like he did at Pearland, Texas.

"I'm very, very impressed with him. He's competing and he's going to be a good one for us. To have a walk-on come in and compete like that is impressive, and he has been, I would say, out of the whole camp, the one that's impressed me the most."

Anderson planned to attend junior college in the hopes of attracting Division I college interest, but sipped those plans when the opportunity came to walk on at Pitt.

"Honestly, I just came into this with an open mind, just going in and trying to compete," Anderson said during camp. "I'm not worried about what everybody else is doing; I'm just trying to be the best that I can be and continue to progress every day. That's all I'm here for."

Pitt now has 82 players on scholarship heading into the season opener against Buffalo on Saturday. The NCAA limit is 85.


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