U-M "Interesting Player" for Watson & Canteen

Elkton (MD) Christian Academy CB Brandon Watson and WR Freddy Canteen earned scholarship offers from Michigan Tuesday after turning in standout camp performances in Ann Arbor. GoBlueWolverine caught up with ECA headman, Dwayne Thomas to learn more about each youngster's game, recruitment, and much much more.

Sam Webb:  First let’s talk about Brandon Watson.  What kind of season he had last year.

Dwayne Thomas:  “He is a very productive player.  Athletically he is just gifted.  He understands the scheme that we play.  He is able to employ the techniques that will enable him to secure an offer like the one that he got (Tuesday).  He has unique balance of strength, speed and coordination that enables him to be a big time performer.”

Sam Webb:  For people who have not seen him play, break down his game from a coaching perspective.  Is there a player in college or the pros that you can kind of compare him to?

Dwayne Thomas:  “Brandon would be a cross between Deion Sanders type that can run with any receiver.  But he is a physical guy like some of the physical corners that have played on the NFL and the college levels.  He is a very knowledgeable individual as it pertains to the schemes that are being played.  He can use the defense to take advantage of a receiver.  Then he can just basically be physical enough to take advantage of a receiver.  So he is smart enough to use the defense to his advantage (and) he is gifted enough and physical enough to just use his God given ability to take advantage of people.”

Sam Webb:  Can you think off the top of your head any plays that made you said, ‘wow, I can’t believe that kid did that?

Dwayne Thomas:  “We’ve based ourselves on a cover-2 shell and a lot of times Brandon can fake quarterbacks into thinking they can throw that corner right into a little dead area.  He kind of holds off the flat and holds off the bubble, then he is able to… because of his athleticism and tremendous jumping ability… put himself into position to play the corner route.  I’ve seen him do it consistently, but it always amazes me when he does it.”

Sam Webb:  As far as his recruitment, I know he picked up Michigan (Tuesday), but what other offers does he have and what schools seem to be pursuing him the hardest.

Dwayne Thomas:  “We’re from the Mid-Atlantic, so we’ve got a lot of the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast schools.  I don’t know if I would say there was one in particular school.  Boston College, UCONN and those kinds of schools back home, back east, but I think the sky is the limit for Brandon.  I’ve been on the phone today already with USC and places like that.  Obviously if say Michigan has offered him, his talent to that level of Michigan, USC and other SEC schools.”

Sam Webb:  Tell me a little bit about Freddy Canteen, tell me about his game.

Dwayne Thomas:  “In my opinion Freddy Canteen is perhaps the best route running receiver in the country.  He is an extremely gifted route runner.  He has extremely reliable hands.  He is very difficult to get your hands on and jam him even though he is an outside receiver.  I believe as far as a receiver is concerned, the abilities that a receiver has to display in order to be successful, I think he is the total package.”

Sam Webb:  You said he is the best route runner in the country.  If you had to compare Freddy to any guys in college or the pros, who would he compare to?

Dwayne Thomas:  “He is such a gifted route runner.  I guess I would compare Freddy to something like a Reggie Wayne type kid.  He runs routes with the precision that allows him to be opened and allows him to finish off plays in the end zone because of his quickness.  I think DBs have to play off of him and then they make themselves vulnerable for the hitch and go and the sluggos and things like that.  He has made a great high school living off those types of routes.  I’m sure when the Michigan staff looks at his film they saw those kinds of things and saw him as a benefit to their team and their program.”

Sam Webb:  His recruitment is I imagine mostly Mid-Atlantic schools for him as well.  Give me an idea about how his recruitment is shaping up.

Dwayne Thomas:  “All the guys back east, Boston College, Maryland, Rutgers, but he picked up Tennessee this week and Tennessee is calling themselves Wide Receiver U.  We went to a camp at Syracuse this week.  We also did a camp at Tennessee.  We were at Michigan today.  We’ll be in Maryland this weekend and in Los Angeles on the early part of next week.”

Sam Webb:  Starting with Brandon tell me what the factors will be in his recruitment and then do the same thing with Freddy… the big factors in his recruitment.

Dwayne Thomas:  “I think it always starts with the quality of the program.  I think tradition is important to these guys.  I think academics are important to them.  They are both 3.0 and above students.  The whole history of the program, the nostalgic part of the program and how the programs have grown over the years is really important to these guys.  Michigan becomes a very interesting player because Michigan does have a strong tradition academically as well as athletically in a variety of athletic sports.  I think those things become important to them.”

Sam Webb:  What did you think of Michigan and the coaching staff?

Dwayne Thomas:  “I thought the coaching staff handled themselves professionally, but they also brought a swagger that said, ‘we’re going towards a national championship status.’  They didn’t hold any punches by talking about some of the recruits that they have commitments from.  One in particular a Mr. (Jabrill) Peppers back from where we’re from.  I really took heed to that.  I thought they were very down-to-earth and I thought the kids felt they were very approachable from the instructional standpoint.  You could tell they knew what they wanted from the athletes and they knew how to get it out of them and from a guidance and leadership perspective I thought they were very professional.”

Sam Webb:  As far as timeline is concerned, do you think both guys are going to wait until after their senior season to make decisions?  How do you think that is going to play out?

Dwayne Thomas:  “I don’t think so.  We’ve had a lot of division one kids in our program.  I think they’re doing their due diligence right now this month, visiting schools that they would be interested in and I think somewhere at the end of June or early July, they would make decisions on what they want to do and be firm and stern with those decisions.”

Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for much more on Watson and Canteen in the hours and days to come.

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