Tom Keegan: Credit 12-1 Orange Bowl team's leading rusher with recruiting assist

Kansas University running back Brandon McAnderson hams it up for the cameras with defensive end James McClinton after KU's 24-21 victory Thursday at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Kansas University running back Brandon McAnderson hams it up for the cameras with defensive end James McClinton after KU's 24-21 victory Thursday at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Monday, June 4, 2018

For Brandon McAnderson, leading rusher for Kansas during its 12-1 Orange Bowl season, what started as a project intended to help his cousin ended up as a means of helping his alma mater, too.

McAnderson’s first cousin, Brian Lipscomb, had a “monster junior year,” as McAnderson put it, for VMI’s FCS football team in 2017 and reached out to McAnderson for help.

“He told me he wanted to play (for an FBS school) and asked if I knew any coaches,” McAnderson said. “My whole staff that I played for got fired and they're all over the place now, and a lot of guys I played with are coaching now, so I told him I knew everybody.”

McAnderson distributed his cousin’s video to several coaching friends, but once he gave it a closer look, he stopped sharing it.

“I said, ‘Wait, he’s good enough to play here. I love this school. I love this program. I want him coming here.’ But I knew that this is my blood, this is my cousin, so I wanted someone else to look and make sure,” McAnderson said.

So, he said he showed the video to former KU defensive back Bill Sutter, who agreed that Lipscomb was a player.

Lipscomb flew in on his own dime and McAnderson joined him on his unofficial recruiting visit.

“He walks in and sees this place and says, ‘Oh my goodness, this is football heaven.’ He was really impressed,” McAnderson said.

During the visit, McAnderson said, the coaches were talking up how much Lipscomb, a pass-rushing outside linebacker, would enjoy playing with senior defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

“They were going on and on about the great year Daniel Wise had and about his ability to connect with people, his ability to lead,” McAnderson said. “Then we go downstairs to the weight room and, sure enough, he’s the first one to come over to us: ‘Hi, I’m Daniel. We’re happy to have you here.’ He’s the kind of guy you want leading your team.”

Now Lipscomb’s a Jayhawk. He showed up for summer conditioning Monday, which indirectly is why McAnderson, an insurance claims adjuster living in Overland Park, showed up in Lawrence.

“His mom’s an amazing cook,” McAnderson said. “Amazing.”

Lipscomb is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and had 18.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks for VMI, which went 0-11 last season.

“He wasn’t a guy I thought could have played at this level,” McAnderson said of his cousin. “Then, his junior season, he went crazy, turned the corner with his body, turned the corner with his skill.”

What stood out most about his video?

“His explosion off the line,” McAnderson said. “That ball is snapped and he’s flying.”