ALGONQUIN – Picking Nasir Canty out of the group of about 50 varsity players on Jacobs’ football practice field is not difficult.
Canty is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and swiftly glides through holes after taking handoffs from quarterback Cole Bhardwaj. He adeptly plucks balls out of the air on passing routes.
Canty looks like an NCAA Division I running back, although he will only be a sophomore this fall for the Golden Eagles. A look at his numbers in one varsity game, 12 carries, 160 yards and three touchdowns in Jacobs’ 64-60 loss to Crystal Lake Central in last year’s season finale, show why the Eagles are so excited to see more of Canty.
“He’s a different breed for a sophomore,” Bhardwaj said, smiling.
Eagles coach Bill Mitz loves to line up and run power football, often with three backs and two tight ends. Canty and leading rusher Jacob Mobeck (602 yards) should see plenty of carries out of Jacobs’ robust offensive formations.
“Nas is a big, physical running back,” Mitz said. “He catches the ball well running pass patterns. He can play the slot, he’s a big receiver to try to cover. He’s a gifted athlete. We’ll keep working him hard. He has to keep pushing himself harder and harder, but I think the sky’s the limit for that guy.”
Canty, who also will be used at linebacker, was pleased to get a taste of varsity football last season.
“I feel like the experience I had in the last game helped me know what I’m coming into this year,” he said. “I know the pace of the game, and I know what I’m going to be facing. I feel very confident in myself. I want to improve myself every day and play for the team. I don’t want everything to be on me.”
Canty’s ability and attitude have ingratiated him with his older teammates.
“He’s one of the hardest-working guys out here,” Bhardwaj said. “He wants to be better every single day. When other players see that, they’re motivated to work hard.”
Canty appreciated the way the older players accepted him with his brief varsity role last season.
“They’re nice role models,” Canty said. “When I came in, they helped me out with everything. I want to learn from them and the things they told me, I want to pick up and improve my game. Whatever the team needs, that’s what I’ll do.”
The Eagles look at Canty’s size and speed and can hardly wait to unleash more on the Fox Valley Conference.
“He fits in great. Everybody loves him,” Bhardwaj said. “Everybody knows what he can do out there. We’re expecting a lot of big things from Nas, and I think he’ll come through.”