Last summer, when he was volunteering his time at the Westside Ministries Sports Camp in Turlock, then-Fresno State football player Anthony Harding briefly talked about the possibility of playing in the NFL. He didn't say too much, considering he was training for the upcoming college football season and didn't want to look beyond his immediate task.
But he did mention that he'd love the opportunity.
Well, it's here.
Though he didn't get selected in the NFL Draft last week, Harding, also a former Pitman High star, has been picked up by the Green Bay Packers as a high-priority free agent and will participate in the team's rookie mini-camp this weekend in Wisconsin. He's leaving Thursday morning and will dedicate the next few days to achieving, arguably, the ultimate football dream of making an NFL roster.
“This is where he wanted to be, since he was 8 years old,” said Keith Harding, Anthony's father. “He had that dream of going all the way. It means the world to me for him to get a chance, a shot at the next level.”
During his years at Fresno State, Anthony Harding was known as the workhorse willing to take on any position: He was the lead blocker, the receiver and the running back. In 2008, he led the Bulldogs in rushing with 822 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. But his production slowed down after that — giving way to such stud running backs as Ryan Mathews, this year's No. 12 pick to the San Diego Chargers — and Anthony finished his senior season with 15 carries for 32 yards.
He completed his college career with 1,172 yards and nine touchdowns
But now, Anthony is focused on his future: the NFL.
Last summer, he told The Journal the impact Turlock has made on him, especially being a part of an up-and-coming high school football program.
“Pitman helped me because it was a new school, so we stared out fresh,” he said. “It was a new program, new coaches, new everything. As long as we had that drive to be successful and to be the best we can be, all you could do was put your faith in the coaches and hope you be successful.”
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