Notre Dame football: Josh Anderson grabs a line and a pole
It was the lure of playing for the University of Notre Dame's football team that drew Josh Anderson, a 5-foot-9, 205-pound running back from Chatsworth and Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, all the way to South Bend, Ind.
He put in three seasons as a walk-on for the scout team and, before last season, coach Brian Kelly surprised him with a scholarship.
He still hasn't gotten into a game yet -- perhaps on Nov. 26 at the Coliseum against USC would be fitting? --but without fishing for compliments, he's found himself hooked by another sport.
On Friday afternoon, Anderson left Chicago and was headed toward the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien, Wisc. He and his teammate are after first prize for the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) regional bass tournament.
And Coach Kelly is cool with this? After all, what's the worst thing that can happen trying to reel in a large-mouth bass?
"I think almost all the coaches on the staff are into fishing and they've always very supportive," Anderson said. "I assume it was OK. Besides, I've never had a serious fishing-related injury, so ... I'm very careful."
Anderson and a few of his Fighting Irish friends are actually testing the waters to start a competitive fishing program at the school.
(Instead of a walk-on, would it be a wade-on?)
His experience to this point comes from his father (also a Notre Dame grad), uncle and grandfather taking him out at a very young age and "I fell in love with it ... I'm the one pushing to go now and my dad just comes to relax with me," said Anderson, whose his favorite local spots are the Castaic Lake Lagoon, Lake Casitas in Ventura and Pyramid Lake just south of Frazier Park.
Inside this tackle box, Anderson's game plan Saturday centers on trying out frogging, flipping a jig and punching through mats as they test the shallow reeds of the Ole Miss on the Wisconsin-Iowa border.
There's a catch to this: If Anderson and his teammate finish in the top 10 here, they'd qualify for a spot in the 2017 College Fishing National Championship next March in South Carolina.
"Fishing is fishing," he said. "You never know what you'll come up with at the end of the day."
Just cast like a champion today.
This article was written by Tom Hoffarth from Los Angeles Daily News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.