Anderson, Hornets ready to flex and muscle their way into playoff picture

Jack Anderson

Brown County senior defensive end/tight end Jack Anderson plans to turn his passing for weight lifting into a bodybuilding career. | Matt Schuckman photo

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. — Jack Anderson first ventured into the weight room with a specific purpose in mind.

“I wanted to hit the gym to get stronger for basketball and football and sports in general,” he said.

He rapidly found a more appealing aspect of working out.

Anderson, a senior defensive end/tight end for the Brown County football team, enjoyed the added strength weight lifting provided, but he loved the muscular definition it created. It changed his outlook entirely.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Anderson decided not to play football as a sophomore to concentrate on his new passion — bodybuilding. Ultimately, he realized he missed the game and the camaraderie it creates, so he returned to the Hornets’ huddle last fall and will be an important part of what he believes will be another playoff team.

He’s also figured out how his two loves — football and bodybuilding — can go hand-in-hand.

“The training style is a little bit different, but the strength is where it’s at,” Anderson said. “It’s crazy. We go up against other teams and I’ll go against their linemen. They’ll be big guys, but they’re not strong enough to keep up with us.”

An offseason spent in the weight room has changed the physical look of the Hornets, but it also has boosted their confidence.

“None of us have been the guy,” Anderson said. “But you’re seeing all of us step up. The confidence is through the roof with this team. I’m super excited for this season.”

His future looks bright, too.

Bodybuilding remains a point of emphasis in his everyday life, and this summer Anderson showcased his burgeoning physique. He finished first in the teen physique division at a bodybuilding competition in St. Louis and took fourth overall in the classic physique division.

It’s furthered his desire to compete, train and mold his body.

“About the only thing I love more is being out here on the field with the guys,” Anderson said.

Or in the weight room.

“So quickly, I fell in love with it, especially the environment in the gym,” Anderson said of lifting and training. “Getting the football guys in there and it was an amazing environment to be in. Going in there and hitting the weights hard every day is great.”

There’s more to it than just slinging weight around.

Anderson has developed a workout plan and a meal plan that he strictly follows, and he’s begun coaching his teammates and others on how to train and transform your body. Brown County lineman Dylan Hendricks followed some of Anderson’s advice and put on nearly 25 pounds of muscle in the offseason.

“He’s been in the gym getting after it like crazy,” Anderson said. “It’s been really cool to see.”

Others have followed their lead to the weight room, which is why the Hornets have size and strength to complement their athleticism.

“The big thing we do here is we try to build athletes,” Brown County coach Tom Little said. “We’re 100-percent fine having a 180-pound kid playing offensive line for us. We know that kid is also a good basketball player and he’s probably a baseball or track guy. They are going to help us in multiple sports.

“We like having kids who are strong and committed and willing to work. They are solid all the way across the line.”

They are building a name for themselves and a future for their program.

Anderson is building a future for himself, tool. He’d like nothing more than a deep playoff run to the catalyst for what comes next — pursuit of bodybuilding glory. He foresees bodybuilding being an integral part of his life and wants to train to compete with the best there are.

“Hopefully compete on the highest level on the Olympia stage,” Anderson said. “That’s everyone’s goal.”

Brown County defensive end Jack Anderson, right, pursues a ballcarrier during a drill at practice in Mount Sterling, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

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