As a broadcaster, reporter and student, one of the best aspects of my Stanford experience thus far has been the opportunity to meet and get to know Stanford student-athletes. At Stanford, our student-athletes are talented individuals who manage to balance the demands of busy schedules and difficult challenges both on and off the field, all the while serving as valuable members of our wider student body.
Among the members of football team, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to know junior linebacker Kevin Anderson and junior running back Remound Wright since our freshman years. Ahead of Wednesday’s Rose Bowl Game, I sat down with Kevin and Remound to talk about football, the Rose Bowl and the life of a Stanford student-athlete.
As a Palo Alto native, Kevin Anderson has been familiar with the Stanford program since he was young. A standout defensive end for Palo Alto High School, Kevin had a decorated senior season with 110 tackles, 22 TFL and 11.5 sacks while helping to lead the Vikings to a state championship. Since arriving at Stanford, Kevin’s ability to rush the passer has led him to move up the depth chart, earning him the 2011 Greg Piers Team Award for his defensive scout team contributions and the praise of his position coaches.
This season, Kevin has backed up All-American and a future top pick in next year’s NFL draft, Trent Murphy, and that has had a great impact on Anderson’s development as a player.
“I just go and work with [Murphy] and try to pick his mind,” Kevin said. “He is leading the country in sacks, so anything that I learn from him will be beneficial.”
Kevin had his best defensive effort this year against Oregon State. In a defensive slugfest in Corvallis, where the Cardinal needed a defensive stand to overcome a largely sputtering offensive performance, Kevin tallied five tackles, 2.5 TFL, and 1.5 sacks while helping to lead the Card to a gritty 20-12 victory. After the game, Kevin was named one of the Defensive Players of the Game.
Kevin also played well against Washington State in October; he totaled three tackles, while also laying a ridiculous hit on Cougars backup quarterback Austin Apodaca.
While Kevin may deliver punishing hits on the field, he could not be a nicer person off of it. When I was writing a PWR 1 assignment about the college experience of a Stanford student-athlete, Kevin took the time out of his busy Winter quarter schedule to help answer all of my questions for my project.
Kevin and I both lived in the C wing of Roble Hall freshman year, and one of my favorite memories from that year was the video game competition between members of my hall (3C) and his hall (2C) in FIFA and NBA 2K. In his common room in Roble, Kevin kept a piece of paper on his wall with the number of victories for some of the people in this competition. Unfortunately for Kevin and I, we both struggled to notch wins in FIFA against some of the better players in our two halls. It was, perhaps, the only time I have seen him fail to achieve the highest levels of success both on and off the field.
On the football field, Remound Wright is an explosive running back whose academic and athletic success as a highly talented prospect from Indiana’s Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger High School led him to the Farm. Remound remains Bishop Dwenger’s career leader in rushing yards (4,730), touchdowns (85) and points scored (516).
After redshirting in 2011, Remound has been a back-up behind two of Stanford’s most successful running backs in school history: Stepfan Taylor ’13 and senior Tyler Gaffney. Remound praised Gaffney and Taylor for the guidance that they have provided him, while also stating that he relishes in the opportunities that he has had to prove himself.
These opportunities have included a great performance this year against Washington State, when Remound led the team in rushing with 56 yards on two carries, including a 53-yard dash to the end zone that gave the Card a 47-3 lead against the Cougars.
Remound also had two impactful carries against Oregon, representing a dramatic change in pace that appeared to flummox the Ducks; while Tyler Gaffney, who received the overwhelming majority of carries that night, gained a significant portion of his yards against the Ducks by fighting through contact with brute force, Remound was able to utilize his speed to average nearly 7 yards per carry for the Card.
“I enjoy it. It is all about making the most of my opportunities,” Wright said about being a change-of-pace back. “Whenever any of the running backs get carries, we are trying to produce. We don’t know whether we will get another chance. So we definitely go into a game with the mindset of making big plays, scoring touchdowns, trying to make things happen.”
Off the field, I got the opportunity to see Remound’s dedication when we were in the same class during the winter and spring quarters of our freshman years. Although Remound often came to our 10 a.m. section straight from early morning winter offseason workouts, he always had a smile on his face and great points to contribute to our discussion.
Given the seemingly constant demands of being a Stanford student-athlete that I saw first-hand with Remound, I asked him what he would tell Stanford fans about these challenges that he and his teammates have to manage on daily basis.
“It is a non-stop grind,” Wright said. “Even when we are not at the football facility, we are watching film, going over our playbook and we have to study for our classes on top of that, so we appreciate any support that Stanford fans can give. Whether it is screaming really loud on third down, or even being quiet for the offense, we appreciate it, and we appreciate people coming to the games and coming out to support us at the Rose Bowl.”
I know that Kevin and Remound have bright futures ahead of him, both on and off the football field. With the graduation of Trent Murphy, Tyler Gaffney, and Anthony Wilkerson, both Kevin and Remound will continue to be key contributors for the Cardinal, while figuring to compete for the starting jobs at outside linebacker and running back, respectively, in 2014.
As talented as Kevin and Remound are on the football field, I see them first as great people off of it. In turn, meeting student-athletes who are also great people has been a wonderful aspect of my Stanford experience.
Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ Stanford.edu.