The shoulder problems that plagued graduate transfer receiver Freddy Canteen’s career at Michigan and Notre Dame have followed him to Tulane.
Coach Willie Fritz said after the Green Wave’s Monday morning practice that Canteen was done for the year after injuring his shoulder Friday.
“It’s unfortunate,” Fritz said. “He was having a good camp, and he won’t be playing this season. We’ll see what he can do. He may end up helping us coaching a little bit.”
Canteen, a four-star prospect when he signed with Michigan in 2014, missed six games in 2015 and all of 2016 because of shoulder injuries. Looking for a fresh start as a graduate transfer at Notre Dame last season, he played in three games before tearing a labrum.
Reboot No. 2 at Tulane lasted less than two weeks.
“We were hoping it (re-injuring the shoulder) wouldn't happen here, but unfortunately it did,” Fritz said. “He's a good, young man. I feel sorry for him. He was diving for a ball. It was nothing you don't do a hundred times a week with different guys on the team.”
Canteen had an excellent opening practice Aug. 1 and was competing for a starting spot to complement certain starters Terren Encalade and Darnell Mooney.
“I definitely feel good,” he said after that first practice. “This system is great for me. I’m just thanking God I will be able to showcase what I can do.”
He will not get that chance this season. When he arrived, he left open the possibility of applying for a medical hardship from the NCAA to grant him a sixth year of eligibility in 2019 because of his injury at Notre Dame.
“That's going to be up to him,” Fritz said. “I talked to him the other day and laid everything out to him and his mother. She happened to be in town for business. We want to help him with whatever decision he makes. It's just tough when a guy sets goals and something like this happens. Unfortunately it's life. It's adversity. It may start another phase in his life. He's got to figure out what that's going to be.”
Canteen is not the only injured wide receiver at a thinning position that was much deeper at the start of camp than in Fritz’ first two years. Redshirt freshman Kevin LeDee, who was vying for playing time, also will miss the season after suffering a serious knee injury last week. On Monday, Fritz said LeDee would have surgery in the next few days.
“We (still) have a few more guys, but everybody is a little older and smarter,” Fritz said. “We've got some of these young guys that we think can step up and play for us this year, too.”
Six scholarship wideouts did not practice Monday, including 2017 starter Jabril Clewis, junior D.J. Owens and true freshmen Sorrell Brown and Jorrien Vallien. Fritz said all of them would be back at some point in camp, adding that Clewis would return “In a couple of days hopefully.”
Clewis, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound former San Diego State signee who played at Grossmont Junior College in 2016, started seven games for Tulane last year. He finished with 16 catches for 174 yards and no touchdowns.
“This is no slam on junior college — I'm an old juco coach — but there's a big difference between Division I football and junior college football,” Fritz said. “That first year is almost like a high school guy coming in because the playbook is about five times the size of the playbook (in junior college). It’s not just the playbook but what the other team does and the adjustments and in-game changes that you make.”
The other options at wide receiver are redshirt sophomore Jacob Robertson (11 catches, 81 yards in 2017), sophomore Jaetavian Toles (one reception) and senior Brian Newman, a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship right before the start of camp.
“Jacob could play a lot out there, but he's had a little trouble staying healthy,” Fritz said. “Jaetavian played quite a bit last year as a true freshman. We think he is one of the more explosive guys on our team. Brian is going to play for us, but right now I don't know how much. He can play anywhere from five to 50 snaps. We'll see. There's a bunch of those guys jockeying for position.”
Fritz praised the tackling in Saturday night’s closed scrimmage at Yulman Stadium but added the overall execution needed to be sharper, with some busted assignments and quarterback-center exchanges the biggest issues. Tulane does not release statistics from its scrimmages. … After going through the hottest workout of camp Monday, the Wave will practice Tuesday at the Saints indoor facility.