Clemson football commits all across the country performed in their high school football games on Friday night. Each week, The Clemson Insider takes a look at the stand-out performance by one of these commits and details what made it stellar. This week, three-star safety commit Lannden Zanders put on a show for the Crest (Shelby, N.C.) Chargers as they defeated the Burns (Lawndale, N.C.) Bulldogs 63-14.
Zanders showed his athletic ability and versatility by making big plays on both offense and defense. First, on defense, Zanders rarely saw the ball thrown in his direction as he played in coverage from his safety position. One of the few times the Bulldogs did throw it his way, he picked it off and returned it for a touchdown. He started out the play hovering on the Bulldogs’ 31-yard line. When the ball was snapped, he kept his eye on the quarterback and moved toward the sideline back to the 40-yard line where the quarterback underthrew his receiver. Zanders jumped up, grabbed the ball and made a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown.
On offense, Zanders carried the ball two times for a total of 89 yards. He scored on one of his carries, a 63-yard touchdown. Zanders was pitched the ball from 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage on the right half of the field. He made three defenders miss their tackles while three others attempted to chase him down before he got away from them on the 40-yard line in his sprint downfield. Zanders also saw one reception for 31 yards on which he scored another touchdown. This was a quick release by the quarterback toward the sideline that Zanders took wide and outran six defenders, cutting through traffic right at the end of his run to get in for the touchdown. He tallied 120 offensive yards and two offensive touchdowns in the smackdown over the Burns Bulldogs.
On the night, Zanders scored a total of three touchdowns, contributing 18 points to the 63-point game. His ability to catch the ball and play efficiently in coverage is going to help him become a star safety when he gets to Clemson in 2019. It is going to be exciting to see what he can bring to the already dominant defense at Clemson.