The Saints 31st overall selection of the 2015 NFL draft, Clemson LB Stephone Anthony, has carried a productive college career into an impressive NFL rookie offseason thus far (knocks on wood). Though currently (and very tentatively) slotted as the second-string MLB (in what appears to be a base 4-3 defense) in the Saints first unofficial depth chart, many fans are optimistic to see what the versatile young leader/LB can do to improve an exceedingly lackluster Saints defense from a season ago.
Having had high hopes for Anthony since he was selected by the Saints, I sought insight from someone familiar with Anthony's formative years as a football player. We caught up with Anthony's former Anson High School (current Piedmont High School football) head coach, Luke Hyatt, who was cool enough to answer some quick questions for CSC.
To your knowledge, what year did Stephone start playing football and what positions did he originally play (on either side of the ball)?
I think Stephone started playing in youth league around 4th or 5th grade. We started hearing about him around middle school.
Was he a leader at Anson? What are his best characteristics as a player but also as a person?
Stephone was a leader on the football field and in the hallways of Anson HS. He was a model student for us. Such a humble person. Always smiling and willing to help anyone.
What’s it like seeing Stephone get drafted in the 1st round?
Very proud moment. We knew he would have a shot to get to the NFL. He worked for everything he has gotten.
Did you ever think he was going all the way to the NFL? What do you think of his fit with the Saints?
We knew after his sophomore year in high school that he would have a chance play D-1 football. Having some early success and playing time at Clemson, we thought he may just have a shot!I think he'll have a chance to make an impact early on for the Saints. I can't predict the future, but he's got the tools to help the Saints.
Have you coached any other current or former NFLers?
He's my first!
How does Stephone stack up against the best players you’ve ever coached?
He's definitely one of the best I've ever coached. I've had the opportunity to be around some great players. He just had a plan when he realized football may be his future. Took care of business in the classroom, weight room, and football field.
Can you share any fun or interesting stories you have about him?
We both share the same birthday. I remember sitting in the DMV when he was getting his license and I was getting a renewal, we had a long chat (as waits at the DMV can be!)
If you could give Stephone sage advice about playing in the pros as his former coach, what would you say?
Be yourself, work hard, and win the day........ You'll be just fine
**If you have any follow-up questions/comments for Coach Hyatt, post 'em below and I'll try to get a response.**