From An Improbable Jump, D-3 to the NFL, the journey of Anthony Kendall
Written By: Aidan Wohl
Within the history of Division III athletics, there have only been a handful of players who had what it took to make it to the NFL. Most recently, the D-3 landscape has seen multiple players not only make it professionally, but also make the starting lineup and produce quality snaps — such as UW-Platteville’s alumnus and seventh-year NFL tight end Dan Arnold as well as Marietta college product and four-year NFL cornerback Darious Williams.
Over the weekend, a franchise may find another overlooked D-3 player to help their team compete for the upcoming 2023-24 season. Atop the list of the potential candidates is Baldwin Wallace University product cornerback Anthony Kendall. Kendall excelled this past season, logging 56 tackles, 12 pass deflections and three interceptions
The 5-11, 185 lb defensive back turned scout’s heads with his performance at his Pro Day, that saw him run a 4.44 40-yard dash, an 11-foot broad jump, which would be the fourth-best leap out of any cornerback at the NFL combine. He topped off his day with a near 40-inch vertical — showcasing what he can present at the highest level.
For his final season, Kendall had the opportunity to play at a school where he would get more noticed by scouts, but decided to stay at BW, where he would leave an historic legacy behind for himself.
“He had the opportunity to make his mark at BW,” Head coach Jim Hilvert told The E-cyclopedia. “He wanted to finish what he started. That choice showed his high character.”
Many players who make the adjustment from college to the pros have a difficult time finding themselves and their footing due to the lack of adversity that they were presented throughout their respective tenure. For the Florida native Kendall, this adjustment should be nothing new. With moving to Ohio and becoming the top talent in a smaller program, came lessons that BW offered him — allowing him to strengthen not only his mental fortitude but his draft stock in the process.
Kendall also strived in academics, finishing school with a degree in basis of health care. He plans on getting into real estate after football.
“[Baldwin Wallace] was a very cool experience,” Kendall told the E-cyclopedia. “I’d say I learned a lot through the coaches, through the players, through the school. It was a change of pace, a change of culture. I learned a lot as a person, I improved my leadership skills, I got my degree, and all-around as person, I feel that that college in general helped add to my resume.
I think the best lessons in life are learned through experience. It was good being able to go away from home, experiencing something different. … And I think it would transition well in the NFL because I will be in the same situation. I can be in comfortable in uncomfortable situations, I think it works hand in hand.”
Similarily, with countless younger athletes struggling with obstacles in hopes of living out their dreams one day, Kendall illustrates that achieving one’s dreams is possible no matter the barrier in front of you. The 2023 NFL draftee didn’t mince words when giving advice to the youth.
“Believe in yourself,” Kendall said. “No matter where you go, if you can play football, the NFL will come and find you. Never give up, and when you handle any time of adversity, stay faithful, work hard and never quit.”
Kendall has been training with Anthony, Lisa and Tito Overland at O-Strong Fitness in Palm Harbor and Clearwater, Florida.
“I’m just getting my body in prime shape so I can be in the best shape I can come mini camp,” Kendall said.
Playing the game he loved since he was just six-years-old, Kendall had always tried to beat the odds — competing in every level in hopes of accomplishing his life-long dream. Kendall will continue to bet on himself with his only competition being: himself.
“I watch a number of cornerbacks, safeties, nicklebacks and I tried to put a lof of their different skill sets into my game,” Kendall said.
“At the end of the day, I am trying to be Anthony Kendall.”