What Is Virginia Tech Getting In Derrick Canteen?

Virginia Tech, Derrick Canteen
Derrick Canteen can play outside corner or in the slot for Virginia Tech.(Georgia Southern athletics)

The Hokies are doubly-squeezed in the low secondary. The true corners are down a good player in Armani Chatman, and the nickel spot never got settled, with the now-graduated Chamarri Conner having to fill in late in the year. By bringing in Derrick Canteen, the Hokies have a guy who could help either problem…or maybe even both. Formerly of Georgia Southern, Canteen seems like an athletic, smart ball player. A bonus I like the heck out of is that he seems like a high-character guy who used NIL money to run a free football camp back in his hometown, so I’m rooting for him to have a good year.

Cateen has got a number of skills, and at 5’11, 190, he’s got the build to play all over the secondary. As a r-freshman, he made headlines for nabbing six interceptions on the year as a traditional cornerback. He covered pretty well, but maybe half of those picks were off other folks’ tips, so take the number with a grain of salt. He tore his pec the next year, and then, under a new coaching staff, he transitioned from playing wide to more of a nickel role.

What jumps out to me is that he covers pretty well out of the press. This is from a win over Nebraska (a win that proved to be the last straw of the Scott Frost era):

That’s not a complete blanketing, but it’s solid. He chops the inside arm and stays hip-to-hip just like you want. He can be easy to spot on the field pre-snap, as he keeps his torso almost parallel to the ground. In the clip above, he uses a single-arm technique. He’ll also completely bail from the press, and he’ll use a cap technique where he makes sure to stay on top of the receiver, like you’ve seen Pitt’s corners do. Interestingly, he also has a lunging jam I’ve seen him use a few times:

I’m not sure that’ll be viable at Tech because of the stress it’ll put on the safety against stronger arms and quicker moves in the ACC, and because he doesn’t use it out of his regular stance, but it’s interesting, at the least.

Nebraska used a lot of switches to try and free up receivers, but man or zone, Canteen was disciplined:

Nebraska wants a rub off that, but neither corner allows it.

He’s got good speed and stays on the hip of his guy on almost every snap I’ve watched. When he does get beat out of the blocks, he can keep his cool and recover:

That’s a good job catching up without interfering, and likewise a good job of not only getting his head around, but even getting a hand on the ball. That throw is from a tense win over a then-undefeated JMU squad. JMU threw it around a lot there at the end, but rarely at Canteen. You could tell the Dukes respected him. The same was true of Appalachian State, which Georgia Southern beat