Freddy Canteen… who dat? A few days ago, most Michigan recruiting followers, including myself, probably wouldn’t have even recognized the name. With a stellar camp performance, Freddy landed himself a Michigan offer and simultaneously shook up what we thought to be a pretty clear picture for 2014 WR recruiting. The staff already has two commits for the group in Drake Harris and Maurice Ways, and they were expected to take at least one more for the year. Artavis Scott (FL) and K.J. Williams (PA) are the two primary names expected to contend for the last spot, with Corey Holmes (FL) as another possibility. Once again, the Michigan staff showed that they are not afraid to offer prospects that impress at camp, while in on some bigger names. Since the offer is very recent there isn’t much known on how much Freddy likes Michigan, but given his other offers to date I wouldn’t be surprised if Michigan was a serious contender for his services.
Given the pattern of WR offers that have gone out, this offer tells me one thing, the coaching staff wants a slot WR in this class. Freddy comes in around 6 feet and 175lbs, which is notably smaller than the majority of prospects who have received Michigan offers. His skill set indicates the same; Michigan wants him as a slasher to compliment the bigger receivers previously taken. The Elkton, MD (Eastern Christian) prospect is rated a 3-star by the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and comes in as the 67th best receiver and 540th best player nationally. His offers include UCONN, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Rutgers, Temple, and Tennessee. So what did the coaches see that motivated them to offer Freddy so soon?
Alright, folks, bare with me. It seems that Freddy Canteen is as unknown to the rest of the nation as he is to the Michigan fan base. YouTube provided me with a brief interview and a few clips from the National Underclassmen Ultimate 100 East camp from 2011. A look to hudl only produced a 35 second highlight clip. Just keep in mind that any determinations from his film are extremely tentative, and this analysis may be subject to change once more film on him becomes available.
Freddy doesn’t come off of the ball as explosive as you would like, but still shows flashes of speed in his routes. Speaking of his routes, while there weren’t many to watch, I wasn’t too thrilled with his route running ability. He needs to make sharper, quicker cuts to create more space in the open field. In this area of his game, I felt that there is very much room for improvement. The upside? I can see the potential for this to get much better with proper coaching, because he appears to have the tools to do so.
The aforementioned tools show themselves after the catch. While none of the passes thrown to him were particularly good, Freddy was able to explode after the catch as well as demonstrating shiftiness with the ball in his hands. He has that natural ability to make defenders miss in open space, which is crucial for a slot receiver. It’s this athleticism that leads me to believe that the previously addressed area of his game have the potential to really be refined, although I have no clue as to how impressive his straight line speed is (claims a 4.58 40, though).
From the limited film, I was only able to make one other note about his game. What’s the most concerning about his highlights is his tendencies to use his body to catch the ball. When the ball is thrown his way, he lets the ball get into his pocket (catches with his arms and chest) as opposed to going to the ball and making the catch with solely the hands. I hope that it is just a bad, fixable habit rather than an inability to catch the ball with his hands, but it’s still troubling nonetheless.
Now before you get all worked up about the staff offering a kid who is subpar to their needs, keep this in mind, the staff watched him play first hand against good competition. Freddy’s offer is seemingly the result of a very impressive camp performance. He was just in Ann Arbor for their annual summer camp, and received his offer after the day of camp on the 18th. All of the issues addressed above could have been improved on, and Freddy could be a prospect that could fit in very well at Michigan. At this point, it’s all just speculation. The thing to keep in mind is that the staff liked what they saw, so the Michigan fan base should trust in their abilities to recognize talent over my analysis of practically no film. Kyle Bogenschutz from Fox Sports Next said on Twitter (@KyleBogie) that “Canteen couldn’t be covered at camp,” so that’s a good sign that he is already proving me wrong. As far as how I think his recruitment will pan out? No clue. Michigan is arguably his best offer so far, so I would expect them to play a big factor in where he decides, once again though it is just speculation. For more on Michigan recruiting, stay tuned. As always, Go Blue!
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