Versatile Defensive Back Headed for WVU

West Virginia's newest football verbal commitment is an athletic defensive back who could play either safety or cornerback for the Mountaineers.

"Alton McCann the best athlete on our team," assistant coach Ed Smith of Jones County Community College told BlueGoldNews.com. "He played mostly strong safety for us this year, but he played some corner too due to an injury to one of our starters there."

Jones County, like WVU, plays a 3-3-5 defense, and McCann played a position for the Bobcats similar to that manned by Leandre Washington and Mike Lorello at West Virginia. Smith noted that McCann was simply the best player suited for that position, but that he could have easily played corner fulltime for Jones as well.

"He just had the size and ability to play the run, so we put him there, Smith said of McCann. I do think he has the hips, and the foot speed, and the instinct to play cornerback in Division 1. In our defense, the corners are pure cover guys, and we needed someone who could play the run, but still cover one on one, and he fit that need the best."

WVU first became aware of McCann in high school, and kept tabs on him after he came to Jones. Mountaineer assistant Rick Trickett, who covers Mississippi, kept McCann in his sights, and it paid off with McCann's commitment.

McCann is an all-around package of speed, strength and athletic ability, so much so that Smith notes he could have played on offense for the Bobcats as well.

"He was fast enough that he could have started at running back for us," noted Smith. "However, our head coach is a defensive guy, so he gets first call."

Despite the big leap from junior college to the bright lights of Division 1, Smith believes that McCann is well positioned to compete for time next year after he graduates in May.

"He's a smart player, and he's very coachable. He knows the game, and he's been a team leader for us. I think he has all the tools to make the adjustment to Division 1."


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