Senior defensive lineman Demontario Anderson nodded his head in agreement when Texas Southern head coach Clarence McKinney discussed how important quarterback Andrew Body would be in setting the tone for the team during the upcoming 2022 season.
Anderson was in lock-step with the assessment of the sophomore signal-caller because he’s been familiar with the exploits of Body long before a breakout freshman season that saw him finish in the top 10 in both passing yards and rushing yards.
“The craziest part about Body is that we actually played football in the same area,” said Anderson, a two-sport athlete at Jones High School in Beeville, Texas, less than 60 miles north of Corpus Christi, where Body starred at Roy Miller High School and finished his prep career with the third most passing yards in Texas football history.
“I already knew what we were getting and what to expect out of him.”
The SWAC, as well, learned just how good the 6-2, 195-pound dual-threat quarterback was, too. He threw for 2,024 yards, 11 touchdowns and rushed for another 619 yards to go along with 5 TDs.
That stellar first season earned him All-SWAC Second Team honors and expectations to help propel Texas Southern beyond its predicted preseason last-place finish in the SWAC West.
“I learned that I don’t have to make every play,” said Body. “I have to take it play by play and one game at a time and not think about anything else but that one play. I feel like that will make me a lot better just by being consistent as well and trusting the game plan, trusting my coaches and my teammates … I feel like that is going to lead us to the promised land.”
Texas Southern, a team that went 2-8 overall and 2-6 in the SWAC, hasn’t won its division since 2010.
With a still very young roster heading into the fall, Body, explained McKinney, has already embraced the leadership role despite his underclassman status.
One of Body’s favorite athletes is Cam Newton. The former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP was a dual-threat quarterback who did everything for his team to succeed. That is what Body likely has to do for Texas Southern to have any shot to overcome inexperience around him and a schedule that features seven road dates in the team’s first eight games to start the season.
“I’d like to think we are ready to take the next step,” McKinney said. “If Andrew takes the next step, the team takes the next step. He’s the leader and worked extremely hard. He’s a special talent and a great person, easy to coach.”