In the late rounds you look for upside.
With scholarships to give and two weeks until Signing Day, recruiting becomes a chase for raw material, potential and overlooked gems. Oh, occasionally a polished star falls out of the sky, a DeAnthony Thomas or Jake Fisher newly loosed by a coaching change or a change of heart, but often those last few recruiting slots go to a kid worth taking a chance on, one with size or quickness, either coming off an injury or overlooked because he plays at an out-of-the-way school or is new to the game.
Can't stop Canty: in the last game of his first and only season of high school football, Jalen Canty had three sacks, caught a two-yard touchdown pass and a 40-yard bomb in a in a 43-29 loss to Piner in the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs.
In his first year of varsity football, 6-8, 270-lb. Jalen Canty led the state of California in sacks with 22.
The senior defensive end was strictly a basketball player up until last spring at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High in Vallejo, California. New head football coach Brennan Marion held a meeting for prospective players, and only 5 or 6 showed up.
He went recruiting in the halls, spied Canty, and urged him to give football a try.
Canty hesitated, concerned about injury and jeopardizing basketball. Marion told Matt O'Donnell of the Vallejo Times-Herald, "He had some resistance to it at first, but with any sport, there are injuries. Tiger Woods has torn his ACL playing golf. You can't play with that fear and you can't be in a bubble and hope you won't get hurt."
In his first season the athletic marvel erupted for 76 tackles, named the Tri-County League Linemen of the Year and an All-Conference selection. "He's a kid who is 6-8, 250 pounds who runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds but he's really comfortable in the three-point stance. He's just really explosive there," Marion told O'Donnell. "We had him lift weights and he can power-clean 275 with ease. He almost threw the weight over his head."
In one game alone he was in on five sacks and batted down three passes. He also caught 10 passes as a tight end, for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. Due to a transfer snafu his basketball eligibility ran out this December, but in his last game, Canty had 21 points and 18 rebounds in an 81-61 win over Deer Valley. He played for three seasons on a premier Northern California traveling AAU team, the Oakland Soldiers, so he has a lot of experience with elite competition.
Athletically, he'll remind Duck fans of DeForest Buckner and Dion Jordan. With more time in the game, he could be bigger and more powerful than either of them, provided he keeps working. The basketball background has honed his footwork and agility. For a look at his HUDL highlight film, click HERE.