SJSU Running Back Scored 5 TD's in the Cal Bowl!

Sheldon L Canley is still alive and kicking! On that special day December 8th, 1990, Canley scored 5 touchdowns in the California Bowl which enabled him to tie the great Barry Sanders All-Time Bowl game touchdown record. We Salute him, and honor him as the greatest RB in SJSU fame!

Copyright © 2005-06

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Long time, and no see or hear fellow Spartan Football Faithful!

I'd like to take a moment to let you all know that Sheldon L Canley is still alive and kicking, and I would like to thank Anthony Rocca for digging me out from under all the cob web's. Ha! Ha!

I can remember so clearly when SJSU was recruiting me out of Allan Hancock Junior College in Santa Maria California. At the time that San Jose State was recruiting me I was a Blue Chip recruit on the Fresno State's recruiting sheet.

I remember Rick Rasnick SJSU's offensive coordinator at the time was actually recruiting a few defensive players from Porterville Junior College when he actually discovered me.

My freshman year at AHC we played Porterville in our season opener at home. I was fortunate enough to run for 304 yards and 5 TD's in only 22 rushes. All this work was done in the first half alone. I didn't play the entire second half.

Coach Rasnick told me that he was looking at some players in Porterville but once he seen the major damage that I did to their defense he had no choice but to visit AHC.

To be honest I never had SJSU in my sights as far as the school I wanted to continue my student-athlete career.

Fortunately for the Spartans I had an uncle who lived in San Jose at the time and who graduated from SJSU in 1980 (James D. Canley). With his coercion and constant pressure I then knew I was going to be a Spartan.

With All-State honors at AHC I really opened allot of doors and was looking at plenty of offers. For instance there was Fresno State, Oregon State, Oregon, Washington State, Iowa, Purdue, Oklahoma, UCLA and several others. My mind was made up that I would not play my last couple of years of college football out of the state of California.

This method made my decision so much easier. I basically narrowed everything down to UCLA, Fresno State, and SJSU.

Before I transferred from my junior college I wanted to complete my AA degree in Liberal Arts and I did. As far as UCLA was concerned they wanted me to be at spring ball but once I explained what my goals were academically,they basically gave up my Scholarship.

Huge mistake I might add being that in 1990 I was named California's Collegiate Player of the Year.

Fresno State was also high on my list but like I said my uncle would have never let me play at a school that was in the same conference as SJSU.

I immediately fell in love with the Spartan offense and the way they got the ball in hands of there tailback. SJSU's campus was also a bit more appealing to me compared to Bulldog country.

All in All SJSU was the perfect school for me and things worked out fantastic.

I left SJSU in 1991 setting 16 school records and also a few NCAA career marks, such as becoming the 1st player in the history of the NCAA to average 200 yds. or more all-purpose yards per game in a career (205.8).

Also I was the first player in NCAA history to have back to back 2,000 yard seasons all-purpose. I give allot of credit to my offensive line and running back coach Wally Gaskins. He taught me how to be the complete running back.

The major highlights of my SJSU career was when we beat Fresno State 42-7 @ home in 1990. My next biggest highlight was the thrashing that we gave Central Michigan in the California Raisin Bowl 1990.

If you all remember that contest you were able to witness probably the best football game I ever played thanks to a consistent offensive line and some very aggressive blocking wide receivers!

On that special day December 8th, 1990 I scored 5 touchdowns which enabled me to tie the great Barry Sanders All-Time Bowl game touchdown record.

He scored 5 in the Holiday Bowl in 1988 setting the mark and I did it a short 2 seasons later.

Keep in mind that I left that contest with 13 minutes still left on the clock 4th quarter. 6 or 7 touchdowns were definitely possible but we had very respectable coaches in Terry Shea (Head) and Wally Gaskins and company who would not let us run up the score anymore.

Fourteen years later a kid comes along by the name of Stephen Jackson out of Oregon State.

He tied our 5 touchdown performance in 2004 in the Las Vegas Bowl. So as it stands there is only 3 players in the history of the NCAA to score 5 TD's in a college bowl game.

What a year that was.

I want to thank my teammates Ralph Martini, Chad Hymel, Pat Hinds, Anthony Gallegos, Brian Woods, Leon Hawthorne, Maceo Barbosa, Bob! by Blackmon, Bryce Burnett, Lyneil Mayo, Everett Lampkins, Hesh Colar, Charles Thomas (CT), Chris Clarke, Steve Heiber and company.

Thanks for the great memories.

Shortly after the California Bowl I played in the Blue Gray All-Star Classic and became the Blue Squad Offensive MVP.

Next up was the East-West Shrine All-Star game in Stanford Stadium. It was very rewarding to be invited to one of the biggest All-Star games and in which I did not have to travel very far at all.

Next up for me that year was the NFL Combines in Indianapolis. I had a pretty good showing there and was getting ready for the 1991 NFL Draft. Up until this point I was projected to be a 2nd or 3rd round draft choice.

Usually after the combines teams like to come out and run more test and drills on you.

I had personal work-outs with the Cowboys, 49ers, Giants, Dolphins, and Kansas City. Again they went well. About 2 short weeks before the draft SJS Football had their Pro Timing day when all the NFL scouts come out to watch you talent run the 40 yd dash. Even though I didn't have to run that day I just figured I would another opportunity to show scouts my speed was improving even though they already had recorded times of 4.45 and 4.46.

At this point I was just trying to help my draft rating. Unfortunately, on my second sprint I severely tore my Hamstring in my deceleration phase of the run. Up to that point I had never felt anything that painful.

Well, I was still drafted by the S.F. 49ers but my stock had fell tremendously due to the injury.

I ended up being drafted in the 7th round.

Quite frankly, I wasn't able to run full speed for 9 long months. In 1991 was protected on injured reserve (IR) my rookie season so that I could recover completely. In 1992 I was back in camp with Frisco and still had a great shot at the tailback spot because Ricky Watters was also placed on (IR) as a rookie in 1991 making it a interesting camp.

Two weeks into camp I suffered another set-back by tearing my muscle again.

At that point I knew they had to make a decision, a business decesion that is. I was released after pre-season that year and didn't get picked up until 1993. The Niners resigned me and later on that year Joe Montana had gotten injured. When he became healthy and ready to get back on the active roster the 49ers had to make a roster spot for him.

Guess who they released to make room for Joe. You got it...Me!

This situation even became a trivia question that showed up on ESPN that year. I guess I'm still famous because I made room for Hall of Famer Joe Montana.

Hours after I was released I was then snatched off the waiver wire by the New York Jets. That situation worked out for a season then from there I ended up in the CFL.

I signed with the Baltimore Franchise who initially was called the Baltimore Colts but the owner was eventually sued by the NFL and we had to change our name to the Stallions. In our inaugural season we were fortunate to make it to the Grey Cup in 1994. We had a 17-0 lead at halftime but we ended up losing the contest to BC 23-20.

Ironically, our field goal kicker missed 6 field goals and that is not a miss print. You never want to blame the kicker but sad to say the coach fired him immediately after the game. In 1995 I signed with the Denver Broncos thinking I would get a decent opportunity to showcase my ability, but it did not pan out that way.

You all remember Tyrell Davis, he was drafted by Denver that year (6th rd) and they had also signed some other big name free agent running backs with huge contracts and signing bonuses.

It made it hard for me to get reps in camp so after pre-season 1995 I was released and I also decided that my football career was over. After going through so much to get healthy and to back into competitive condition it seemed like the politics of the game consumed me totally.

I just couldn't deal with that aspect of it all.

I wanted to make SJSU proud of my professional football career, but I just could not get out of the gate once I got to that level of play.

These days my wife and I are very busy with 5 children. We currently live in Lompoc, California which is about an hour north of Santa Barbara.

Before I get ahead of myself let me introduce my family to you. First of all my wife beautiful wife Virginia who is definitely the backbone of our family.

Our kids from youngest to oldest. Sheldon Jr.- 17 months old, Dallas- 5 years old, D'Artagnan- 6 years old, my step-daughter Alexis- 10 years old and step-son Manuel- 12 years old.

I guess it is fair to say that there is allot of testosterone in our household.

After having little Sheldon, my wife and I teamed up and decided that we would watch T.V. albeit more.

My boys love football and they always ask me about my trophies and plaques. They always ask me, Dad where did you buy them all. I just have to laugh and explain to them that trophies and plaques are something you have to earn not buy.

They all play soccer (AYSO) and already started their own trophy case. Don't be surprised if they become Spartans in the future. My younger boys are very active even little Shel.

I encourage them do push-ups and sit-ups as part of their daily routine and the good thing about it, they like it. I hope this football season we will be invited and honored at a SJSU football game.

I would love to formally introduce you all to my beautiful family.

Just recently, July 9 & 10, 2005 I started my own youth football camp; Ages: 8-16.

My Headliner for this summers camp was my high school alumni and great friend Napoleon kaufman. I graduated from Lompoc High in 1986 and he followed in 1991.

He then starred at the University of Washington and then of course with the oakland raiders, a former 1st round draft choice.

We shared the cover of the Cal-Hi Sports Magazine in 1990. Napoleon was California's High School Player of the Year and I was California's Collegiate Player of the Year.

You would have to remember that Lompoc, California has a population of about 46,000 people. It would be fair to say that Big things do come out of small packages.

My coaching staff was also comprised of some of the current Lompoc High Varsity Coaching Staff, as well as my older brother Shawn F. Canley who himself was All everything at running back and who earned a full ride to the Uninversity of Cal Poly S.L.O. in 1983.

Our main focus of the camp was to make sure the participants understood the fundamentals of their positions.

We also made time to discuss issues like "making the grade", commitment, listening to parents and coaches, good attitude, and to always compete with desire and a sense of urgency. They were also tested in the 40 yard dash, pro agility drill, broad jump, and push-ups to test their strength.

In all the 1st Annual sheldon Canley football Camp went extremely well. The parents and our young student-athletes were pleased and already can't wait until next year for the 2nd Annual SCFC 2006.

I've already started my planning and fundraising for next years camp scheduled for July 7th,8th, and 9th.

I will be teaming up with Anthony Rocca of to set-up a fund raiser auction to raise money for my football camp.

I will be auctioning off my actual game jersey from the California Raisin Bowl 1990. The same jersey I scored the 5 TD's in. Also my Spartan game helmet and so on.

Make sure you all are watching out for the details on

Next on my list is speaking at the YFL opening day in Lompoc on August 27, 2005. I find myself doing allot for the community these days such as speaking at elementary schools, high schools and at other local fund raisers.

In closing I would like to say good luck to the current Spartans and to those who come in the future.

It is definitely time to get back on top of the food chain. I'm excited about the new coaching change and the direction of the football program.

SJSU football will own the WAC this year because if not I am going to make some changes on my birth certificate so I can help you all out.

By the way, I can still make plays!

Furthermore, I also want to congratulate those Spartans who are currently in the NFL or any other Pro league. Jeff Garcia, Joe Nedney, Rashied Davis and company. The football tradition is still strong in San Jose and I would love to see a strong consistent push in this 2005 campaign.

Now that I have resurfaced from those cob web's, I will continue to stay in touch in the present as well as in the future.


Yours truly,

Sheldon L. Canley #20

(Fans and the "administration" can contact Sheldon at

In appreciation of Sheldon's time in producing this story, we have sent his family complimentary T shirts.

We look forward to seeing Sheldon and his family at the "Hall of fame" game on September 3rd when the Spartans kick off against Eastern Washington on an ABC regional telecast at 3pm.

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