Commentary: Dylan Cantrell ready for big senior season at Texas Tech

Published on Monday, 17 July 2017 22:11 - Written by PHIL HICKS, phicks@tyerpaper.com

FRISCO - #bEAST TEXAS was well represented on Monday in the Big 12 Media Days at the Dallas Cowboys’ Ford Center.

The five teams taking part on Monday included three East Texans - Dylan Cantrell and Keke Coutee from Texas Tech and Travin Howard from TCU.

Cantrell, of Whitehouse, and Lufkin’s Coutee are wide receivers from the high-flying Red Raider offense while Howard, of Longview, is a linebacker for the Horned Frogs.

All three will play key roles in their teams’ quest for Big 12 glory.

Seeing the affable, well-spoken and dapper Cantrell on the podium representing his hometown and his university makes me feel a bit old.

I covered both his uncle (Robert) and father (Kenny) when they were stars at John Tyler High School back in the days.

With his buddy and playmaking QB Patrick Mahomes II off to the NFL, Cantrell will be depended upon even more this season.

The 6-3, 220-pound senior has been a teammate of Mahomes since they were Little Leaguers back in the fourth grade.

After this season, Cantrell hopes to join Mahomes in the NFL.

“I’ve dreamed of being in the NFL since I started playing football,” said Cantrell, the middle son of Kenny and Shelly Cantrell, of Whitehouse. “In the second and third grade, I wrote ‘an NFL player’ when we were asked what you wanted to be when you grow up.”

Cantrell’s dedication and work ethic, who he credits his older brother Jordan for instilling in him, has the Red Raiders senior on the threshold of playing on Sundays.

“I was always tagging along with Jordan and watching him,” Cantrell said of his older brother who played football at Harding University and graduated No. 4 in his class at Whitehouse High School. “I watched Jordan stay up to 2 in the morning studying AP classes and then wake up and get to the weight room at 5 in the morning.”

He also credits his father and uncle as well as his mother for the guidance.

Also, he notes that God blessed him with a chance to play the sport he loves. Plus, his faith is a big part of his life as his parents were youth pastors at Lakeview Baptist Church in Whitehouse for many years.

Although he missed the West Virginia and Oklahoma games last season due to injuries, Cantrell finished third on the team with 58 receptions and 675 yards. He was second on the team with eight touchdown receptions.

Cantrell, who was an Academic All-Big 12 first-team selection, had a career game against Baylor, hauling in 11 catches for 111 yards in the Red Raiders’ 54-35 win over the Bears at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

This year it won’t be Mahomes throwing to Cantrell. Instead it will be Nic Shimonek.

“It doesn’t matter if the quarterback is left-handed or right-handed, my father said if the quarterback gets the ball near you it is your job to catch the football,” Cantrell said.

If it is in the vicinity of Cantrell, you can bet he will haul it in.

NOTES: Texas Tech, TCU, Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa took the stage inside the Ford Center on Monday. ... On Tuesday, it will be Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas and West Virginia. ... Cindy Smoak, SPORTyler vice president, and Earl Campbell’s sons Christian and Tyler, were on hand to promote the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.