Keith Canada began the 2009 season unsure of his role in the Friendswood offense; it's a problem he won't have to worry about this fall.
The 6-3, 203-pounder emerged as one of quarterback Pete Matezold's favorite targets late in 2009, finishing his junior year with 23 receptions for 340 yards and three scores. Canada has moved onto the radar of several Division I schools, including Northwestern, Rice, Houston and TCU.
Baylor is also on the list for Canada, whose academic success has ranked him among the upper crust of Friendswood's class of 2012.
Canada also received an invite to last Saturday's Football University training event, but was unable to attend after scoring three points and pulling down five rebounds during Friendswood's 56-55 win over Texas City on Friday night, a victory that clinched second place in the District 24-4A boys basketball chase.
"I really like TCU," said Canada. "I'm planning to attend medical school and their school has a great medical program. The football team is coming off a big year, and it would be exciting to help them reach the next level."
Canada, who has dropped his 40 time to just under the 4.6 range, has attended TCU's summer camps several times. He is also beginning plans to attend junior days after the Mustangs complete their basketball season.
He will attend this weekend's NUC combine; Canada participated in last year's combine in Austin and was selected as an "Ultimate 100 Invite," but could not attend due to stress fractures in both shins.
Canada's breakthrough performance came in the Mustangs' regular season finale, where he caught six passes for 119 yards in a win over rival La Marque. The Matezold-Canada combination hit stride during Friendswood's run to the Class 4A, Region III final, as the duo combined for 13 completions for 160 yards and three touchdowns.
"I was more of a physical receiver last year," said Canada. "This year, I want to be the go-to guy. I want to be the receiver Pete looks to in the clutch."
It would be hard to miss Canada, who is being looked at as a tight end/H-back on the next level. With his size and ability to create mismatches downfield, chances are good Friendswood coach Steve Van Meter will look to him as a weapon inside the red zone.
Canada just one of several play makers the Mustangs will return in 2010. Along with Matezold, Friendswood will also bring back District 24-4A Newcomer of the Year Jonathan Johnson and Matt Kennemer at wideout.
"Coming off the last two seasons we've had here, the expectations will be high," he said. "We've lost some good players, but we have several junior varsity players ready to step up. We'll need them to so because this district is tough. There are no easy games here, and the addition of Galveston Ball means we'll have to be ready to work every Friday night."
Canada is expected to be one of the Mustangs' team captains, a role he is relishing.
"It would mean a lot to me," he said. "I want to be able to step up and help the younger players in the same way the players before me were able to do."