Driven by family: Family and football have been catalysts of Anthony Todd’s life.

Cardinals redshirt fifth-year senior Anthony Todd runs out of the fog during team runout Oct. 2, 2021, at Scheumann Stadium. The Cardinals beat the Black Knights 28-16. Jacob Musselman, DN
Cardinals redshirt fifth-year senior Anthony Todd runs out of the fog during team runout Oct. 2, 2021, at Scheumann Stadium. The Cardinals beat the Black Knights 28-16. Jacob Musselman, DN

For redshirt fifth-year offensive lineman Anthony Todd, this season has gone beyond wins and losses. Ball State Football has been a part of Todd’s life from the day he was born, and he said it will continue to be a part of his life forever. 

Todd was born in Muncie and raised in Yorktown, Indiana, a small town about a 10-minute drive  from Ball State. He said playing for the Cardinals is “a dream come true.”

“I grew up watching Ball State Football, and I have seen the transition from grass to turf,” Todd said.  “I have watched the hill and press box be put in. I have always thought it was so awesome to play for my hometown team.” 

Todd said his roots are important to him, but he credits his family as his biggest motivators in the sport. 

“With the countless hours they have spent, they have really provided me with a great path to success,” he said. “Every day I go out to play, I am motivated by my parents, to make them proud and show them that all the hard work they have put in for me will not go to waste.” 

Todd said his older brother, Joe Todd, who played quarterback for Yorktown High School from 2008-12, has inspired him by his hard work both on and off the field. 

“The coolest thing that Joe did was growing up,  he never left me out of anything even though we are four years apart,” Anthony Todd said. “Part of the reason I have been so successful in sports is because of Joe and the way he pushed me to be better.” 

Joe Todd said he always knew Anthony had the ability to play college football at a high level because of his athleticism and work ethic.

“You were not going to stop him with his hard-headed nature and his want-to attitude,” Joe Todd said. “Whatever he decides to do, he is going to be successful because he has that loyalty and that drive.”

When he thinks of his brother, Joe Todd said he thinks of a good person above all else and said Anthony’s willingness to help out at the Muncie Youth Opportunity Center and Ball State football camps stands out to him. 

“In the community, people always love Anthony Todd,” Joe said. “You’ll never see him not help out the younger kids.” 

Anthony’s father, Joe Todd, said Anthony makes sure his family knows how much they mean to him, even after a big win such as last year’s Mid-American Conference Championship. As soon as he got to his phone after the game, Anthony texted his family. Before the bus ride back to Muncie, Anthony called them and told them how lucky he was to have them in his corner.

Joe Todd said he and his wife have only ever missed three games over Anthony’s football career, dating back to when he played flag football as a child. Those three games were all during Ball State’s 2020 season as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. 

“When we won the bowl game and MAC Championship last year, there was a huge crowd at our house, and everyone was going crazy,” Joe Todd said. 

Along with family, football is also one of the most important things in Anthony’s life. He described winning the MAC Championship and Arizona Bowl last season as the best feeling of his life. 

Cardinals redshirt senior inside linebacker Brandon Martin (Left) and redshirt fifth-year offensive lineman Anthony Todd run out with the rest of the Cardinals Sept. 2, 2021, at Scheumann Stadium. The Cardinals beat the Leathernecks 31-21 in their home opener. Jacob Musselman, DN

“Ball State took a chance on a kid from Yorktown,” Anthony Todd said. “I started here, and I am going to finish here.” 

Todd’s former head coach at Yorktown High School, Mike Wilhelm, said he has always stood out among his peers. He said there is no doubt Todd chose Ball State to further his athletic and academic career partly because of his family’s constant support and Todd’s appreciation for it.

“He’s a genetic freak — he has the look,” Wilhelm said. “Anthony has always been the alpha — not so much in a bossy way, but more of a protective leader.” 

Todd said he has fell in love with Ball State over the last six years and has made life-long friendships through football and the university, as discipline, leadership, people skills and work ethic are some of the biggest areas he’s grown in during his Cardinal career. 

“We have the mindset that, ‘I am going to go to war with this guy every day,’ and to be able to do that at Ball State means a lot to me,” Todd said. “We build a family atmosphere here.” 

Redshirt fifth-year quarterback and Todd’s roommate, Drew Plitt, said Anthony is one of his best friends and he trusts him. They met each other their freshman year, and Plitt said they have built much trust in one another over the years . They also watch football together.

“Having him really helps me play better, knowing I can trust him,” Plitt said. “When you have such a high football IQ, you’re able to play for a long time and be successful.” 

Plitt said Todd has expressed his appreciation for his family and his love for the game of football. 

“I know that he is a big family person, and he just loves the game of football,” Plitt said. “I know that being from Yorktown and being on a team with such great success is a tremendous feeling for him.” 

Part of the reason why he’s lasted so long on the Cardinals, Ball State offensive line coach Colin Johnson said, is because Todd has “an extremely high football IQ.”

“I think the most special thing about him is how well he knows the game,” Johnson said. “He always knows where he is supposed to be and when he is supposed to be there, and he makes sure our younger guys do, too.” 

Johnson said he knows how important family and community is to Todd not only because Todd has told him, but by the way he plays. 

“Given that he is a Yorktown kid, being here at Ball State probably means a little bit more to him than the other guys, and you can see that in the way he plays,” Johnson said. “Even though a lot of guys have pride, it’s different with Anthony because this is his community.” 

Todd said he knows his football career is coming to a close, and he wants to help the Cardinals reach another bowl game. He said he is grateful for his six years spent as a Cardinal. Although Todd is focused on one game at a time, he said this season will likely be his last. 

“I have had a great career here and, looking back, I will be able to tell people it was the best time of my life,” Todd said. 

Contact Kyle Smedley on Twitter @smedley1932 or via email at kyle.smedley@bsu.edu.

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