Friday, July 17, 2015

2015 Season Countdown: #44 Freddy Canteen

Freddy Canteen
Name: Freddy Canteen
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185 lbs.
High school: Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #17
Last year: I ranked Canteen #18 and said he would be a starting slot receiver with 25 catches, 400 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He started two games and had 5 catches, 22 yards, and 1 touchdown.

Canteen earned a lot of hype in the spring of 2014, which carried over into the season. I reached on him. I made the mistake of believing, like children believe in Santa Claus or like Plaxico Burress believed Nick Saban. The whole world is a lie.

Canteen, the self-professed fastest player on the team, averaged 4.4 yards a catch and scored once. He played regularly, but he was not a staple of the offense. Maybe he could have contributed more, but Michigan's passing offense was terrible as a whole, from the play calling to the quarterback to the protection to the receiver play. Canteen was targeted only a handful of times, and I think he dropped one pass. It was a forgettable season.

On the plus side, Canteen got some game experience. The Wolverines are searching for a breakout receiver this year, since Amara Darboh is the only truly established receiver, and he is a possession guy only. Canteen still has the quickness to beat people, but he needs to be used in some of the same ways that former wideout Roy Roundtree was - bubble screens, seam routes, etc. The receivers as a whole don't really stand out, so not many of them deserve to be ranked too high on this list. Canteen will probably continue to play in the slot, but Michigan potentially has other options with redshirt junior Jehu Chesson, freshmen Brian Cole and Grant Perry, and perhaps senior Dennis Norfleet. Michigan will not light up opponents through the air, so it would be nice to see an incremental step forward from Canteen.

Prediction: Starting slot receiver; 15 catches, 175 yards, 2 touchdowns


  1. Quite a precipitous drop for likely our starting SR.

  2. At some point there has to be a skill position player that wildly exceeds expectations like happens at every other damn school in the country. Somehow dudes who are 3 stars turn into stars elsewhere every 3 years. It is boggling how we rarely have them on offense (it happens on our defense) - I guess Gallon was one. The last rb was Hart- that is now 2004 aka over a decade ago. So 2 a decade. Sad sad sad.

    Our Demario Jones, Norfleets, Chessons, Dukes, Fitzes, rawls, Miller, robinsons, are always what we thought they were...or worse.

    1. I'm holding out hope that if JH can at least get respectable QB play out of Rudock, that will open things up for both the RB and WR position groups to show more (especially WR). Maybe none of these guys are gems, but some are probably better than we think right now. The passing game has just been so dysfunctional of late, who knows?

    2. Gallon was a 4-star "super smurf," so I'd say he pretty much *met* expectations.

      Also, based on his one very productive season, I don't think you should class Fitz (also a 4-star, btw) with those other guys.

  3. If Canteen, our fastest receiver, only manages 15 catches all year I will say right here, right now...we're in a world of hurt.
    I predict double that amount!!

  4. One thing to bear in mind about the meager numbers of Canteen and every other U-M WR: In terms of pace, this was *the* slowest offense in the country.

    Last season, U-M was 108th in pass attempts...and 96th in rush attempts. They didn't do much of anything, though not simply because they couldn't stay on the field. (U-M was 77th in 3rd down conversions, which is bad but not fatal—Wisconsin was worse.) It was also because the offense operated remarkably slowly.

    Only four teams averaged fewer plays per game than U-M: USF, Vanderbilt, UConn and New Mexico. All four also were worse at converting 3rd downs, meaning that efficacy was a bigger reason why they weren't on the the field running plays. U-M even ran fewer plays than Army, which ran the ball virtually every play and was usually behind. Michigan was just profoundly slow. (My pet theory—no evidence, just a theory—was that the staff viewed the game through the lens of the defense and was trying to protect it.)

    So anyway, the upshot of all this is that our offensive numbers are somewhat artificially depressed because of the unusually slow tempo. While I too am worried about the WR position, I also think that last season was deeply dysfunctional, and that this car may have a little more under the hood than we realize.

    1. Anonymous at 8:40am -- I like this analysis. It rings plausible.

      I wonder at whose doorstep we should lay the slow tempo blame? Hoke or Nussmeier?

    2. Why are you looking to blame someone for the tempo? It has been slow the last couple years and maybe there was a good reason for it (keeping them in games, settling down Gardner between plays, etc.). It's not necessarily a bad strategy when your passing game is brutal. Not sure Harbaugh is going to speed it up a ton, either.

  5. Frankly, last year's prediction was probably too optimistic for Canteen, but this year's is a bit pessimistic, I think. It's unusual to have a true freshman WR be that productive, but not that unusual for them to break out big as sophomores after an uneventful first year. If we're getting decent QB play, 25-30 catches is not an unreasonable expectation, if not for him, then for whoever is getting most of the snaps at slot receiver.

  6. Dude, you put him about 43 spots too low!

    We more or less know what Darboh and Chesson are, now that they are seniors -- An OK possession guy (Darboh) and an OK deep field threat (Chesson). Neither is an impact player. We know that. We can expect them to get better, but neither is going to suddenly look like Anthony Carter or Desmond Howard...or even Maurice Walker.

    Last year, the next guy up after those 4th year players was a waif freshman. I realize our expectations last year were rather overheated, but Canteen had a successful year for a freshman. He got consistent playing time, caught some passes in a barely functioning offense, and even scored a TD against Ohio State. In doing so, he passed over a bunch of older players (some of whom you seem to like more). This offseason he's working with Jabril Peppers and knowing what we know about Jabril that's a good sign for Canteen. He's reportedly the fastest WR on the team. etc.

    It seems like his small success/lack of freshman sensation is being used against him. Because we've SEEN him on the field he's a known quantity (even though he was just a freshman he seems to be getting written off). Whereas guys who sat the bench (like Ways) get the benefit of the doubt.... It's backward.

    Canteen is our best hope for a playmaker at WR. IMO he's our only GOOD hope for it (i.e., realistic hope). As such he belongs somewhere much higher on the list. In the teens, maybe even the top 10. If he goes down, Michigan's WR are pedestrian almost certainly. If he plays up to his talent, Michigan has an asset to put on the opposite field from Darboh and/or Chesson.

    We could very well have the next Carter/Howard/Manningham on our hands here. None of those guys had massive seasons as freshman, but all of them showed flashes of promise. Given the offense he was working in Canteen's 5 catches, don't rule him out of that type of player.