Kiante’ Anderson is a linebacker/defensive end who played at East Carolina University last season. With the Pirates, Anderson was a force to be reckoned with, amassing 34 tackles (six of them for loss) and four sacks in 2017. After this impressive senior season – the 6’4″, 243-pound Anderson continued to turn heads at his pro day – where he ran a 4.85 40-yard dash, bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times, and put up a 29.5 inch vertical jump. And although he did go undrafted, it didn’t take long for the Houston Texans to sign him as a free agent. Now that he is on the Texans, Anderson looks to use his special combination of strength, speed, and athleticism to crack the 53-man roster. But there is more to Kiante’ than just football, as you’ll see in this interview by FPC Texans editor Sam Gubner.
What would you say your strengths as a player are?
Kiante’ Anderson: I would say for one that I have a strong worth ethic as a player. I am very explosive off the line of scrimmage, a disciplined player, very coachable, physical at the point of contact, and I have a good motor.
Since your major is exercise physiology, and you post an impressive bench press of 380 pounds, back squat of 505 pounds, power clean of 308 pounds, and push jerk of 262 pounds (all according to ecupirates.com), how do you think your extensive fitness background will help you succeed in the NFL?
Anderson: I have been in the fitness field for quite some time, so my experience with my major has helped me out a lot as far as learning new things and ideas to benefit me. Not only with my football skills, but the strength and agility aspect of things to help benefit my body in order for me to be the great player I want to be.
Speaking of great players, what are your thoughts on being on the same defensive line as J.J. Watt?
Anderson: Man! It is truly a blessing and a dream come true, he has been one of the players I always observed and watched since I was in high school. He is such a good role model/mentor both on and off the field, and to have the opportunity to hopefully someday play with him is truly an honor and a privilege!
Describe what you felt when you got that call from the Texans saying they would sign you. How was that like? How did you feel?
Anderson: It was an unexpected but wonderful experience at the same time! I was around my mom and my grandparents when I got the call and you can just see the biggest grin on all of their faces. I didn’t want to cry in front of them but just seeing them and thinking about them in that very moment made me cry later that night. I wasn’t expecting a phone call from them but I’m just truly thankful that they saw something in me that other teams did not.
We have been through so much in the past and for [my family] to see me get this opportunity is amazing and a dream come true.
Could you elaborate on the struggles you’ve been through in the past? Did anyone help you with these struggles?
Anderson: One of the major issues we dealt with was not being financially stable. My mom is a single mother of four boys, and majority of the time she had to take care of us on her own and that was rough for us. We moved consistently growing up and that was kinda rough for me trying to start a new life at different schools.
Another moment was when I maxed out of financial aid money to cover for my senior year, I didn’t know what I was going to do. If I wasn’t able to come up with the funds, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate nor play football my senior year.
Thankfully, Coach Montgomery surprised my mother on Mother’s Day with a football scholarship to pay the rest of my way through college.
What role has your mother played in your life? How has she shaped you as a football player and as a person?
Anderson: Mom has been the role model and inspiration of my life! If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be the very man that I am today. She is the reason why I remain humble. Even though she didn’t know much about football, she had no the choice but to learn the fundamentals of it from me, my brothers, and my grandfather because she knew I was going to be playing this sport for quite some time.
If I ever needed any words of encouragement before or even after the game she will always be there to keep me uplifted.
Thank you for all the responses you’ve given and for allowing me to see the struggle you went through to get to this moment. Now that you are here, is there anything you’d like to say to Texans fans?
Anderson: What an honor and a privilege it is to hopefully be a part of a great franchise. Trust and believe that I would do whatever it takes fulfill my part on this team and to hopefully get us to a super bowl! GO TEXANS!!!
We at FPC Texans wish the best of luck in Kiante’ Anderson’s NFL journey, wherever that may take him.