Signing Day After-Thoughts: Jalen Canty, Ngalu Tapa Bring New Dimension to D-Line


Washington State landed big commitments from Jalen Canty and Ngalu Tapa yesterday. These two are the types of players that change a defense and allow the coaches to do all sorts of things that they normally wouldn’t be able to do.

Both Canty and Tapa add a dimension of speed and skill that Washington State has lacked in recent years.

The Cougars landed 5 defensive lineman in this year’s recruiting class; Jalen Canty, Ngalu Tapa, Hercules Mata’afa, Kingston Fernandez, and Nick Begg.

Begg will start as a utility player and mainly play on the offensive side, but played defensive end in high school and has the ability to play if the Cougars need him too. Begg is 6’5, 255 lbs and was a 3-star recruit out of high school. Originally committed to Arizona State, he took a grayshirt year and transferred to Washington State this year.

Canty, 6’8, 270 lbs, is a 3-star athlete out of high school and will play Basketball for the Cougars as well. With the skill that Canty has, he will be able to play all sorts of positions for the Cougars.

Tapa, who is ranked as the 51st best NT in the nation is also a 3-star recruit. At 6’3, 270 lbs Tapa has all sorts of speed around the field and also has the skill to come in and make a difference very early in his career.

Mata’afa, 6’3, 225 lbs, is a 2-star defensive end/OLB and will more than likely take a red-shirt year his first year. With the depth that the Cougars have on defense it makes it hard to see him getting enough playing time worth burning his redshirt.

Fernandez, 6’3, 225 lbs, will more than likely take a redshirt his first year unless he gets into fall camp and shows off some of his speed and talent that the coaches like what they see.

Canty and Tapa bring speed to the table and are the type of players that an opposing coach will have to plan around. With the speed coming off the end from Canty it forces the ball carrier to stay inside where the linebackers and Tapa should swallow him up at the line of scrimmage. Both Canty and Tapa should be able to come into their first year and see playing time.

As an offensive lineman in high school I dealt with speed every day and was told constantly; “speed kills” and this statement is very true, especially with these two. Canty and Tapa have the speed and agility to get out and come off the line and bust the offensive lineman in the mouth. With their hands and line moves they should easily be able to get by many of their opponents.

Canty has a very good first move and with a rumored 4.6 40-yard-dash he is able to beat most offensive lineman in every way possible (I don’t know many offensive lineman that can even come close to touching a 4.6-40) and will be able to be very versatile for the Cougars.  With Canty’s speed off the edge it will allow Mike Breske to do more with his defense. Speed allows a coach to try different stunts and plays and Breske has had plays ready for this type of speed but has not really been able to utilize them as they take both speed and skill. Canty is also 3 inches taller than any other defensive lineman on the Cougars current roster.

Tapa, who will line up at nose tackle, has the speed and size to compete with the inside linemen of the PAC-12. The lower man wins and Tapa understands that and is very capable of getting lower than his opponents. Another addition to Tapa’s game is his length he has. With a huge arm span it allows him to do more on the line and allows him to split the defense while still keeping his body away from the defender. More and more you are seeing players swat the passes from the quarterback and with the arm span that Tapa has, it will allow him to get his hands up there and at a minimum get in the way of the quarterbacks view.

At NT the Cougars will have Kalafitoni Pole with the most experience, Pole is mainly remembered for his huge interception in the 2012 Apple Cup to set up the winning drive in OT. Robert Barber is the other NT listed on Washington State’s roster.

With the addition that these two bring to the team it will be really interesting watching what Breske and company can do with them and we’re looking forward to watching these two really start to make big things happen on the defensive line for the Cougars.