You’ll often hear people say there’s, ‘No place like home,’ but for Jaleel Canty that phrase couldn’t be anymore true.
“I’m a Lansing native through and through,” said Canty.
He went to Dwight Rich Middle school, as well as Everett High School where he had a lot of success on the field as a Viking under Marcelle Carruthers. Canty garnered all-conference honors his final three seasons.
“I was on the 2013 CAAC Championship team. 9-0 team. So for me, you know, it’s just coming back home.”
Canty knows the lay of the land but more importantly he was able to step in when his hometown needed him the most. Just two weeks into the season this past fall, former head coach Mike Smith was hospitalized due to health concerns and Canty was there to put on the headset.
“I always wanted to be in this position,” he said. “I never expected it to happen now, or under the circumstances of last year of filling in, but getting the news was great. You know it was really rewarding and I’m thankful.”
Ever since that day in August he’s taken it upon himself to lead the Vikings. Canty even guided the players through their off season workouts this winter in hopes the interim tag would eventually be removed one day, and now that it has he’s even more ready to make it his own.
“We’re going to try to be a team that plays fast. That plays physical. I want a team that’s you know relentless. That’s my personality. That’s my coaching style.”
A style the players have quickly picked up on and have adapted too.
“It’s a lot of work because if you’re not in to having someone tell you what to do, and if you’re not a good player, you’re not going to do well under Coach,” said junior linebacker Alex Mireles. “Coach wants the best for you and if you think you’re just going to come in and do whatever you want to do, or not put in any work, you’re going to be wrong.”