All in the family: Another Anderson carrying on the Wave legacy

From left, Theddis Anderson, Theddis Anderson Jr., and Jesse Anderson.
Staff Writer

His father caught a short touchdown pass in 1990 to beat Southern Miss and Brett Favre and the next year, snared a 36-year touchdown on a crossing route that helped Mississippi State upset 13th-ranked Texas.

His uncle, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 87th pick in 1990, still boasts that Alabama and Auburn teams remember him from his playing days.

He caught 56-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 to help beat Ole Miss one year.

So if Treddis Anderson Jr. -- T.J. for short -- feels any pressure, it's understandable.

Of all the family lore that weaves its way through and into West Point High School football lore, few are as notable as the Andersons.
Jesse Anderson was a star who graduated in 1985 and went on to Mississippi State and four years in the pros.

Younger brother Treddis graduated in 1987 and followed Jesse to Mississippi State.
 At one point, the Bulldog backfield was all Andersons with Treddis playing fullback, blocking for Jesse at tailback.

Now, Treddis Jr. is making a name for himself as a junior tight end on the 2018 Green Wave team that is shooting for its third-straight state 5A championship.

"I try to learn from them," the 6-1, 215-pounder says sitting across from dad and uncle.
"It puts a lot of pressure on me, I have to be better than they were," he adds, unsure whether its the legacy or his own desire applying the pressure.

T.J. is no different than most teenagers when it comes to listening to parents and older relatives, shaking his head in the negative.

His dad agrees.

But there's more to the dynamic.

"He always gives me good advice, he keeps me on the right track. I listen to them, they just don't know when I'm listening," he advises.

Dad and uncle are still local; dad works for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, uncle Jesse is an investigator with the West Point Police Department.

They both are familiar faces around the Green Wave locker room, offering encouragement, mentoring and inspiration.

"I watch what he is doing, what a lot of them are doing, and try to offer advice and what to do next time if I see something that might help," said Jesse Anderson, who played linebacker as a redshirt freshman and tight end as a sophomore before switching to tailback at MSU.

Some things have not really changed since the two older Andersons were at West Point.
The weight room and conditioning were big parts of training and preparation then under Coach Bubba Davis and now under Coach Chris Chambless.

"It helped build championships," Theddis Anderson said.

"You can tell the difference on other teams," they all agreed, nodding when the issue came up.

Many of the rivalries still are the same. And as his father and uncle did, T.J. still gets extra fired up for those big games.

If you weren't in the stadium by 6:30 or 6:45, you wouldn't get a seat," Theddis said of some of the big games during his high school playing days.
"They'd bring in bleachers in the end zone for Starkville and Louisville. Cars would be parked all the way down Church Hill to the walking trail," Jesse adds. "When we played Starkville, it would shut the place down."

"Oh yeah, we get up for those big games," T.J. says, brushing off any suggestion that today's players don't have the passion of prior generations.

Where Aberdeen once was a rivalry, Noxubee County has now stepped in, the trio agree.

Theddis bought his son his first football when he was 3.

They always are throwing a football or baseball to this day, T.J. says.

It's helped him develop good hands that produced three TD receptions going into Friday night's game.

One of those was an acrobatic snag against Louisville.

He's also gotten to see old videos of his dad and uncle, including dad's 36-yard TD to help beat Texas.
"I've seen that one a bunch of times, that crossing route," T.J. says.

The younger Anderson also has grown up on MSU and the Denver Broncos. That's his dad's pro-football love, even though uncle Jesse prefers the Green Bay Packers.

"West Point, Mississippi State, Denver Broncos, it's been ingrained in him," Dad states, as son nods in agreement.

The pros and cons of their lives offer some insights for T.J. and his teammates.

For one, the older Andersons aren't sure they would encourage T.J. to get into law enforcement for a career.

They also worry about the toll the game takes on the body, from knee injuries to the long-term effects of concussions.

"I worry about that all the time, one wrong move, one wrong hit. It's why we pray for him, pray for every child out there every day," Theddis responds when asked about injuries.
"It's rough, there's no doubt," adds Jesse, tapping the left knee he's had replaced.

T.J. loves playing tight end, although he wouldn't mind trying his hand at defensive end sometime.
And he's got a couple of good ones to learn from.

But their advice goes beyond Xs and Os, blocking assignments and pass routes.

"I tell him to give 120 percent on every play, to everything he does. That goes for the classroom, too, especially in this day and time. You've got to have the academics. You don't want to get to my age one day and wish you'd caught that pass or studied harder. There are some I wish I could go back and catch," Dad recalls.

And what about pro ball?

"If that's what he wants to do, he's got to do what it takes. That's what I tell him. He's got to give it all he's got," Dad says.
"I will play, it's my dream," T.J. adds, as he heads off to take a test in class.