FARGO — Former North Dakota State running back Bruce Anderson isn't going to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but he's getting geared up for an event to showcase his skills to NFL teams and scouts.
Next on the Anderson checklist is NDSU Pro Day, which is slated for the end of March.
“It’s been training and getting healthy,” Anderson said. “I’m getting a lot stronger.”
Anderson is training in Florida at D1 Tampa, a training facility designed for athletes. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Anderson tweaked his quadriceps muscle during Senior Bowl practices in January. That prevented him from playing in what's considered the top college all-star game for NFL Draft prospects.
“It was frustrating,” Anderson said. “You always want to be able to compete and showcase your abilities.”
Anderson tweaked his quad, which also took him out of the NCAA Division I FCS championship game against Eastern Washington in early January, on the second day of practice during Senior Bowl week.
"He's going to make a team in this league," said Anderson's agent Glen Lansky of Elite Sports Agency in Florida. "He's a 53-man roster guy. He can do too much. He will be ready to put on a performance at pro day."
Anderson felt he flashed his ability as a versatile player, even though his Senior Bowl week was cut short.
“I think I was able to showcase my abilities to catch the ball,” Anderson said. “I was able to show I was more than a one-down back.”
Anderson led the Bison in rushing his senior season, finishing with 924 yards and nine touchdowns on 124 attempts. He averaged 7.5 yards per carry. Anderson also caught 12 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
Anderson rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries in a 44-21 victory against rival South Dakota State on Dec. 14 in the FCS semifinals. He also added a 14-yard touchdown catch. Anderson left that game in the third quarter with a quad injury and didn’t return.
In his four-year career at NDSU, Anderson rushed for 2,896 yards and 24 touchdowns on 486 attempts in 52 games. He added 32 receptions for 448 yards and seven TDs.
Anderson competed against players from FBS schools, including ones from Power Five conference teams, at the Senior Bowl. He felt he showed he belonged.
“It’s something I always knew I could do,” Anderson said. “It's fun to be out there with more of the bigger-name schools. It felt good to be out there.”
Anderson didn't receive an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, which starts at the end of February. The official invites were recently announced. Former Bison quarterback Easton Stick received an invite to the Combine.
Lansky said Anderson is likely to be reunited with his former teammate at NDSU Pro Day.
"He hopes to be running the routes for Easton there," Lansky said. "I think he'll really look good in position drills. The kid's a great athlete and he can do it all."
Anderson said his time in the Bison program helped prepare him for a potential pro career. He was a key special teams performer for the Bison to go along with his running back abilities.
“I think that’s going to be at my advantage,” Anderson said of special teams. “I feel like it’s huge if you are able to do a lot of different things. … That helps you stick around longer.”
Lansky said Anderson's special teams ability makes him an attractive option for NFL teams.
"At first, he will have to be a special-teamer, maybe a third-down back who catches the ball out of the backfield," Lansky said. "Any team that gets him is going to be very lucky and going to have a complete player and a student of the game."