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Former Bison running back Anderson shows pass-catching skills at NDSU Pro Day

Bruce Anderson runs a shuttle drill during NDSU Pro day at the indoor bubble facility on Thursday, March 28, 2019. David Samson / The Forum1 / 2
Bruce Anderson sprints during NDSU Pro day at the indoor bubble facility on Thursday, March 28, 2019. David Samson / The Forum2 / 2

FARGO — Bruce Anderson received rave reviews from his college quarterback after working out Thursday during North Dakota State's annual football Pro Day at the Dacotah Field bubble.

The former Bison running back showed his strength, speed and pass-catching ability. Anderson ran routes and caught passes from former NDSU quarterback Easton Stick.

"I thought it was an awesome workout for Bruce," said Stick, who also took part in the NFL Scouting Combine about a month ago. "He dang near played receiver just about every time for us today and tracked the deep ball, ran different types of routes. He's really a dynamic player."

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Anderson tested well in two notable drills. He unofficially ran a 40-yard time of 4.58 seconds. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times. At the Combine, 22 reps in the bench press would have been tied for sixth-best among running backs.

"I was hoping to do a little more," Anderson said. "I shoot for the stars and land on the moon as I say. I was shooting for 25-plus, but I was happy with what I did."

Anderson also measured a 31-inch vertical jump. His broad jump was 9 feet, 11 inches. Anderson's unofficial 40 time would have ranked him tied for No. 13 among running backs at the Combine.

"The speed of the game film shows and the speed of when I'm on the field shows, so I'm not even worried about that," Anderson said.

Anderson rushed for 2,896 yards and 24 touchdowns on 486 attempts during his four-year Bison career. He was at the Senior Bowl in late January, but didn't participate in the game after tweaking his quadriceps muscle during practice for the all-star game that features some of the top NFL Draft prospects.

Anderson said he felt healthy for the Bison Pro Day and was pleased with his performance.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience ... so you've just got to soak it all in," Anderson said. "Have fun with it."

Anderson caught passes both from out of the backfield and at receiver from Stick. He looked fluid and made multiple catches downfield during those pass-catching drills.

"He looked good out there," said Anderson's agent, Glen Lansky of Elite Sports Agency in Florida. "He battled hard and looked great in drills. He caught everything that he was able to get to."

Lansky said he expects Anderson to get drafted in the later rounds at the NFL Draft, which is scheduled to start April 25 in Nashville, Tenn. There were at least 21 NFL teams and one CFL team with representatives on Thursday.

"We've done our evaluations of where he might be a good fit," Lansky said. "Which teams need running backs and which teams will probably address that in Rounds 4 through 7. ... I think he would be a steal in the later rounds for teams."

Lansky said Anderson's versatility makes him an appealing prospect for NFL teams.

"You get an A-plus special teams guy and that's what you look for in the later rounds," Lansky said. "I think he's probably one of the best receiving running backs in the NFL Draft."

Anderson thought overall he performed well during his testing, but would have liked a better vertical jump.

"It's a big weight lifted off my shoulders. It's a long process," Anderson said. "I feel amazing. I was happy with the way I performed."

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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