Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

Irish A-to-Z: Freddy Canteen

Michigan graduate hopes to impact Irish offense, special teams in two-season transfer appearance.

  • Class: Graduate (2 seasons of eligibility)
  • On the depth chart: Swimming upstream
  • Post-spring status: N/A

A change at the top from Brady Hoke to Jim Harbaugh, coupled with a balky shoulder that required surgery truncated Canteen’s once-promising career in Ann Arbor.

A four-star prospect per 24/7 Sports composite rankings and dubbed the 172nd best overall player in the 2014 class per Scout.com, Canteen broke through with the Wolverines varsity as a true freshman, earning a monogram while catching five passes including a late-game touchdown in a loss to Ohio State.

The contest marked coach Hoke’s last on the Michigan sidelines, a reality that directly coincides with Canteen’s forthcoming enrollment as a graduate student at Notre Dame this summer.

CANTEEN AT HIS BEST

Clearly his freshman season when he earned two starts and appeared in 10 contests for outgoing coach Hoke. His role diminished as a sophomore following the hiring of Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor with Canteen appearing in just five contests in 2015 – he has not made a field appearance since.

(Harbaugh reported following the 2016 season that multiple shoulder surgeries – the first in spring 2016 – shelved Canteen last fall.)

QUOTABLE

"He's amazing. He's really explosive. He's just a playmaker. He can do anything on that field." – Michigan sophomore CB Jourdan Lewis in April 2014.

BEST CASE SCENARIO

Downfield speed (he’s been clocked at 4.43 in the 40-yard dash) and outstanding routes – those are the purported calling cards for Canteen. If true, he’ll eventually make inroads with Notre Dame’s deep, multi-talented receiving corps, because if a guy can fly AND use deception adroitly against defensive backfields, he quite frankly will get open in the college game. 

The Irish are blessed with ample talent at Canteen’s position of choice, but it’s notable that the former four-star prospect dabbled at defensive back for Harbaugh in August 2015. In fact, he was performing true double duty, at least according to this tweet sent by Canteen prior to Michigan’s opener against Utah:

“I'm a two way player, I play Offense and Defense, too clear up the confusion…”

Whether he runs under passes or defends them, Canteen’s presence on the four Irish Run Teams (kickoff and punt coverage and returns) seems guaranteed.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

The shoulder is the new knee.

While modern medicine has helped eradicate (in most cases) the association of “career-ending” with “knee surgery,” the human shoulder has shown no such increased resilience to bounce back from the violence inflicted upon it by the sport.

Shoulder surgeries mean less time in the weight room and it’s thus plausible that injuries have robbed Canteen of his former form.

Additionally, if Canteen had no warts as a player, he surely would have seen ample time for the 2015 Wolverines – a squad in need of assistance at both wide receiver and defensive back.

CAREER COMPARISON

An odd symmetry exists between Canteen and Notre Dame’s two wide receiver pledges from the 2014 class, Justin Brent and Corey Holmes – he transfers in while they transfer out.

Each finished college in less than four years and thus has two seasons of eligibility remaining. All three played as freshmen – Holmes and Brent redshirted as sophomores, Canteen as a junior.

Brent and Canteen both enrolled early at their respective schools.

Unofficially, Notre Dame has had 25 outgoing graduates transfer to other football programs but just three previous graduate transfers in:

  • Cornerback Cody Riggs from Florida, who was outstanding prior to an early November injury in 2014
  • Safety Avery Sebastian from California, who played to mixed reviews including a frustrating starting assignment to open last season in Texas
  • And prior to both, punter Alex Wulfeck from Wake Forest. He backed up Kyle Brindza in 2013.

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