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UMass adds fifth-year Maryland transfer DE Justin Anderson

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts football program added its second fifth-year transfer of the week when former Maryland defensive end Justin Anderson officially joined the Minutemen Friday.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound South Carolina native started as a sophomore for the Terrapins in 2010. He made 22 tackles with 51∕2 going for a loss, including two sacks. He suffered a foot injury during the 2011 preseason and missed the entire year. He returned last season and made six sacks in six games.

Since Anderson graduated and has one year of eligibility remaining, he can transfer without sitting out.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity. This may be my last chance to play the game that I love. I’ve played it for 11 years. If this is my last chance, I want to finish strong,” Anderson said. “I want to finish with a bowl game. I want to succeed. I want to hopefully go to the NFL, that’s always been a dream of mine, but if this is my last year I want to enjoy it, have fun and go to a bowl game.”

UMass coach Charley Molnar didn’t temper expectations for Anderson’s potential.

“He looks NFL ready. He’s an NFL prospect defensive lineman. He’s excited to be here, passionate about football,” Molnar said. “He’s a great leader really wants to make a difference in the football program. Wants to impact the football program. He wants to come in and help change the course of UMass football during his time here.”

Anderson said seeing fifth-year Michigan transfer Mike Cox at UMass last year get drafted in the seventh round was inspiration.

“When I heard about it, that motivated me. I thought if he could do it, I know I can do it,” said Anderson, who added his injury is behind him and he’s 100 percent healthy.

Anderson was recruited by UMass defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo when Sollazzo held that position at Maryland. Anderson also played for former Minuteman coach Don Brown, who was the Terps’ defensive coordinator for one season.

“I felt like I knew (Sollazzo) well and I could trust him,” Anderson said. “After talking to my family, I thought (attending UMass) would be the best opportunity. I enjoyed playing for (Sollazzo) my freshman and sophomore year.”

UMass added Michigan transfer Ricardo Miller early in the week.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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