Mercardo Anderson | Henderson State University | DB
Q: Tell us about your college (or pro) career and what the recruiting/scouting process was like?
A: My college career was pretty much a roller coaster ride. Going into Henderson State I was a walk-on, therefore I had to earn the respect of my coaches and new teammates both on and off the field. Many can imagine this isn’t a easy task. The reason I chose to attend Henderson State was because of the advanced sports management program and the opportunities it allowed with both internships and career possibilities. As far as the football aspect, Henderson State produced nothing but the best talent along with many conference championships. As a student athlete, trying to maintain good academic standing while pursuing your future career can be difficult or impossible for some, but Henderson state helped me stay focused to achiever both.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: I had the privileged of becoming a Division 2 All-American athlete, however I feel that my biggest accomplishment was being able to preform at a very high level of football while maintaining a satisfactory GPA . Sports has always had a impact on my daily routine which has taught me how to balance all aspects of being a student athlete.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing?
A: While attending Henderson State I learned many important life lessons from the coaching staff. For example, one particular lesson that I use on a daily basis how to overcome adversity. Coach Tademy would tell us that even though the opponents offense is having a 13 play drive, doesn’t mean that they are going to score. Therefore as a defensive back, you encourage your team to keep executing the play calls to prevent the other team from scoring. Relating this to everyday life, this principle teaches us that no matter how hard life gets or what is thrown your direction, you must have the will power to keep pursuing the end goal. Coach Tademy would tell us the more you continue to fight, the closer you get to victory.
Q: How was your career impacted due to the 2020 pandemic and what have you learned from the adversity?
A: January 13, 2020 I arrived in Houston,Texas to train for my upcoming pro day which would be held at Henderson State March 13, 2020 . After completing the 8 weeks of training I received the news that Covid-19 had become more serious and that teams were pulling their scouts off the roads. This really hit me deep because I had trained at maximum effort day in and day out to be prepared for this important day . After the pandemic set in it really showed me who I was not only as a player but as a man. Being the person that I am, I refused to give up no matter what it took because of the dedication to pursue my dreams. Therefore I kept my head down and kept working to improve my strengths and also strengthen my weaknesses. Because of my hard work I’ll be able to showcase my talent in front of many different leagues and scouts at the National Scouting Combine in March. This tryout will be a huge opportunity for my future and I am humbled for this invite.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: I have a Bachelors of science in Sports Management. However, if football was off the table, I know I would be a successful athletic director at any high school. Being a mentor to my younger cousins , will have me prepared to embrace an alternative career.
I had the privileged of becoming a Division 2 All-American athlete, however I feel that my biggest accomplishment was being able to preform at a very high level of football while maintaining a satisfactory GPA . Sports has always had a impact on my daily routine which has taught me how to balance all aspects of being a student athlete.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: My past teammates at Henderson State would say that I have a strong energy that comes from my love and passion for the game. I noticed that anytime my name come up in conversation, these are the words that are used to describe me. As a standout defensive back, my teammates knew that I never looked at extra work as punishment, it was always mandatory. They said the energy I have is the reason why I am able to overcome any challenge, including the extra work on and off the field.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: It was almost 3rd down and 10, the other team needed to throw the ball somewhere near the sticks in order to move the chains. I remember my coach looking over the defense and sending in the coverage we were running which was cover 2. All week this team ran smash routes on long yardage downs, so I was 100 percent prepared for this. As the short route was being motioned, I alerted my inside linebacker of the smash route happening behind me. I dropped back at the last second, only to find myself catching my first interception; and as a freshman, that is my most memorable play in my career.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: This goes deep. My challenge is being overlooked. I have put in the effort, and I have the skill, but I have been overlooked numerous times throughout my football career. I overcome this feeling by being relentless. So regardless of this challenge, you cannot coach talent, I am here, so with this opportunity I will not be “overlooked.”
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: Budda Baker. I would say our instinct for football is unmatched. I am versatile like he is as well and I admire his competitive edge. This is the type of character I have instilled within myself to further my career at the professional level .
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: I thrive off of competition. I know the only way to bring strength to myself is competing against the best. Knowing this, I will show my team that the love for competition will make us all better and stronger. My standards are high and I look at football as a one day contract , you must earn each day and your only as good as what you left out on the field. I should be considered because I will never stop striving to be the best and my standards will help me to achieve this.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back” or ”pay it forward” in your community?
A: Growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas I have been surrounded by hardship and adversity and giving back to my community is something that’s vitally important to me. I am partnered with Deondre Harris, who is the founder of G.O.N.E organization and a well known guy in the community. His organization stands for Generating Opportunities Not Excuses and is centered around getting young men to believe in themselves and that anything is possible that you set you’re mind to. We usually hold a annual football camp every year with a guest speaker who comes in and take about how to overcome adversity. This camp is great because I remember being in these guys shoes and now that I’m a mentor to these kids I embrace it. It’s an honor to answer all of their questions about football and life because it reminds me that at the end of the day, the journey is way bigger than me.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2021 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: The way I am preparing for this combine is very strict and intense. My trainer put together a solid meal plan to sustain muscle and also build more lean muscle mass. It’s been crucial for me to be training at least twice a day for 6 days a week to make sure that I’m putting myself in the best position possible. Therefore when I touch the field in front of scouts there will be no doubt I will raise all heads on that field and let my actions speak for themselves. I don’t usually set goals because I’m not trying to hold myself back but I must say one goal is to get to Indy and do what I do best and that’s preform at a very high level .
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: My ultimate achievement would be becoming a professional athlete. I want to show the youth from my hometown that they can reach their dreams no matter who they are or what they’ve been through. I believe big things happen to people who put their heads down and grind because if you truly want something, it’s always attainable. I would be truly grateful to be in a position to help inspire others around me that walked in the same town I’m from and went to the same high school I attended.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: When I’m not between the white lines I’m usually working as a personal trainer and sharpening my mind on the fitness aspect. Every Saturday I hold a boot camp for all ages to come out and get simple workouts in to help improve muscle mass and tone up the body. Fitness is one of my passions in life so I’m always opening my mind up to new ideas and constantly networking to learn new workouts for my clients so that they are achieving their best results.
Q: If you could make a positive impact on all of society what would it be and why?
A: My bestfriend was shot and killed right after I got off the phone with him one day, so if I could make one impact on society that would be to spread more positivity and just cherish life. We wake up each day thinking that we will return home safe and that nothing will hinder us but only God knows our journey. I would start by giving back to my community. I just want to show people that life is precious so don’t hold grudges and kind to everyone because you never know when you will see them again . Also, I would want to create a scholarship fund in my hometown in honor of my best friend for a student who brings good to others. You have to be to live life and not talk down or talk about others but help uplift because everyone is trying.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: My grandmother has had a tremendous impact on my life. I’ve seen her battle many obstacles of adversity and still be able to provide for me and other family members. Her acts of kindness taught me to be selfless, humble and always treat others how you would want to be treated. I love that women to death and I know by trying to live right and be a better person in this world, my journey will be much easier. The most important thing that she would constantly tell me is that someone else’s situation is always going to be harder and that you must endure your struggle because in the end your reward will be that much greater. Therefore if it wasn’t for my Grandmother I wouldn’t be the humble man that I am today.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: Something unique about me is that I’ve got huge OCD issues. I tend to need everything lined up in order and sorted out. For example, I remember having about 10 pairs of gloves in college and having them sorted out by practice gloves all the way to color. I’m a really neat and clean person I tend to take the time out my day to make sure things that are of use are in order.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: Outside of football, my dream job is to one day be able to become a huge personal trainer. As a top tier athlete I’ve always been able to push myself to new heights, therefore I would love the opportunity to be behind the dirty work and blood, sweat & tears that comes with the success. Having the chance to enhance and make an athlete’s weaknesses stronger would most definitely make any trainer excited about their job. After my football career I would still have the passion and drive to push young athletes into achieving their personal goals and life long dreams because that’s something that you can’t buy it’s authentic.