The Black Mamba of the Okefenokee
By Barry Every
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Sophomore athlete Raykwon Anderson had over 1,250 all-purpose yards while hitting pay dirt 16 times. On the defensive side of the ball he recorded 29 tackles, three INT’s and two blocked punts.
Back in 2011 a versatile athlete from Los Angeles by the Name of De’Anthony Thomas, aka Black Mamba, made a splash at the University of Oregon amassing over 2,200 all-purpose yards. No one in their right mind would ever confuse Folkston, Georgia, the little town east of the largest blackwater swamp in America with The City of Angels. They are polar opposites, but Charlton County may have their own burgeoning version of Thomas.
Folkston (Ga.) Charlton County suffered through its worst season in nearly three decades, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1989. It was the lowest win total in Coach Rich McWhorter 27-years at the helm of this perennial South Georgia Power located on the eastern side of the Okefenokee Swamp.
One player was still able to stand out amongst his peers despite the Indians horrid year. Sophomore athlete Raykwon Anderson had over 1,250 all-purpose yards while hitting pay dirt 16 times. On the defensive side of the ball he recorded 29 tackles, three INT’s and two blocked punts. His efforts did not go unnoticed being named GHSA-A First Team All-State by the Georgia Sports Writers Association as a returner.
Prior to the 2016 season Anderson received a surprise offer from Maryland. Florida soon followed suite and the young whirling dervish could not resist, committing the Gators on the spot. This fervor came about after Anderson posted a 10.9 100-meter as a freshman.
“Yeah, I’m committed to the Gators, but I’m open to hearing from other schools,” Anderson said. “I mean Maryland will always have a place in my heart because they were the first school to offer. Hearing from two of my childhood favorites would also be nice. I just love Oregon and their fast tempo offense. I don’t know what it is about them, but I just really like Florida State.”
Anderson has already made two unofficial visits to Gainesville this April, including taking in the Spring Game. At this time no other junior days or unofficial visits are planned; he does intend to hit both Florida and Florida State camps this summer.
“What stands out most about Raykwon is his vision, especially in the return game,” McWhorter said. “He is just so explosive as a receiver and dangerous in space. He runs great crossing routes and we just have to give him the ball when he’s in the flats. We have even designed plays for him as a quarterback which opponents may see more of this fall.”
At 5-foot-8, 162-pounds Anderson is not the biggest player on the football field. He understands the importance of continually improving his speed while gaining muscle mass in the weight room. His lateral quickness and football instincts make him the ideal slot receiver/return specialist at the next level.
“Yeah this past season was extremely disappointing,” Anderson said. “We thought we were going to beat every team going into the season, but we simply didn’t put the effort into the offseason program. The good thing is we only lose three starting seniors.”
He has kept busy since last year’s football debacle starting at point guard on the Indian’s basketball team while participating in several track events. Anderson competes in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 4x100-meter and long jump. But he still somehow finds time to work out with his brothers on the gridiron.
“He is a smart kid that understands the importance of lifting weights; he knows there is no chance of playing at the next level if he doesn’t get bigger and faster,” McWhorter said. “On top of that he gets it done in the classroom, Raykwon is not someone a coach will lose sleep over and that will carry over to college. He is dependable and very low-maintenance.”
With two years still left in his prep career records could be broken, more importantly Anderson is set on getting the Indians back to the playoffs. The Black Mamba of the Okefenokee may not be biggest player on the gridiron, but he is an opposing coach’s worst nightmare when the ball is in his hands.