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Josh Anderson earns scholarship through hard work

| Friday, November 18, 2016

For graduate student running back Josh Anderson, smacking the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign and taking the field in front of a sea of blue and gold has always been a lifelong dream of his.

After making this dream a reality, Anderson is now in his last season wearing an Irish uniform, and he said is appreciating every moment he has left with his football family.

Anderson — who was a two-time letter-winner at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California — was awarded a scholarship at the beginning of his senior season through his strong work ethic and dedication to the Notre Dame football team after three years as a walk-on. He said his journey so far at Notre Dame has been a great one and he is highly grateful.

“My experience at Notre Dame has been amazing, I absolutely love it,” Anderson said. “It’s been very challenging, but at the same time it’s been extremely rewarding.”

Irish graduate student running back Josh Anderson catches a pass during warmups before the Irish played Miami on Oct. 29.Kelly Vaughan | The Observer
Irish graduate student running back Josh Anderson catches a pass during warmups before the Irish played Miami on Oct. 29.

Anderson is a science pre-professional major at Notre Dame and is now getting his masters in the Global Health program. Anderson said he loves the strenuous academic aspect of Notre Dame and has learned to manage his time by balancing football and school.

“I love getting better physically and intellectually on a daily basis,” Anderson said. “The challenge with football and academics at Notre Dame is going to make the next steps in life easier, I feel like it’s giving me the confidence to go out and attack whatever I’m going to do in my future.”

Anderson said his father, Joe Anderson, attended Notre Dame as one of few African Americans during his time at the school and used to meet with Father Hesburgh weekly. Josh saw the example set by his dad and said ever since he was a little kid, he was motivated to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Receiving a scholarship to play the sport he loves at a school that his dad left a mark at has been rewarding for Anderson.

“It was extremely special to me, I worked my butt off for those three years before and I gave my heart and soul, and still do,” Anderson said. “That recognition of how hard I worked felt very good and it was a dream come true, now it’s a part of history.”

At a place like Notre Dame where the football is rich in tradition and the academics are prestigious, there are obstacles that student-athletes will encounter.

“Some of my toughest challenges are having a really tough practice and then staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. for that bio or physics test the next morning,” Anderson said. “But I think the main thing is to think to yourself why you’re doing this, who you’re doing it for, focus, pull the energy out, and take care of business.”

Despite some adversity, Anderson said he has learned a lot from the university, the football program, and from being a part of something bigger than himself.

“My experience at this school has taught me about hard work and how you can accomplish whatever you want to accomplish if you put your mind to it and work for it,” Anderson said. “Coming into this school I expected to work hard, but I never expected to be able to accomplish what I have, and now I have the confidence to pursue my goals.”

From forming a brotherhood with his teammates, to putting in unseen hours in preparation for the season, to strapping up the pads and going all out every day in practice, Anderson said nothing has been more valuable to him than the opportunity to play for head coach Brian Kelly and his coaching staff while absorbing crucial life lessons from them.

“Not many people can say they lived out their dream, but I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had coming out of high school to go play for Notre Dame,” Anderson said. “Football is a sport that has helped me in every aspect of life, but the most important thing I’ve learned from Notre Dame football is the concept of moving onto the next play, if you make a bad play, it’s like having a rough test, don’t dwell on it, just move onto the next one.”

This mindset Anderson uses on the field has translated to all parts of his life. Anderson said he takes great pride in representing Notre Dame and has always trusted the process throughout his life.

Anderson added he hopes the next generation of Irish student-athletes will set themselves up for a great future, a future where they can look back on their time at Notre Dame and say the same thing he did:

“I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”

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