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2013 Virginia Football Roster Profile: Maurice Canady

Our countdown reaches 26, which matches up with sophomore CB Maurice Canady. Not highly regarded coming out of the HS, Canady was one of the most impressive players on the team last year. He started twice as a true freshman, and led the team with 2 INTs. He was the nickel CB for much of the year when he wasn't starting, missing one game with an injury.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Position: CB
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 180
Hometown: Richmond, Va
High School: Varina HS
Year: Sophomore
Twitter: @reeseUVA26

As a two-way player in HS, Canady was recruited as an Athlete. ESPN rated him as a 2 star WR, Scout as a 2 star CB and Rivals as a 3 star Athlete. Other than Virginia, his offers were mostly from FCS teams such as Norfolk St and Delaware. He also had an offer from ECU.

And then he arrived in Charlottesville and was slotted at CB. And impressed the hell out of the coaching staff. A 2 star CB is not supposed to be the nickel CB in his first career game. He's not supposed to lead the team in INTs and he's not supposed to start twice and be named ACC DB of the Week twice.

It is fair to say that the scouts missed on Canady. On a team full of smaller CBs, Canady is a completely different player at 6'2". He may not be the fastest CB on the team, but he's also far from slow (4.5 range). Despite being only 180 pounds, he's often covering the opposition's biggest WR, a guy who may be 20 or 30 pounds heavier. But Canady is physical enough to stay with those guys, and he's also able to rise up and get a ball over his head.

Canady's experience at WR means that he has very good hands. He also played a great deal of wildcat QB, so he has good running ability. So if he gets the ball in his hands this year, watch out. He could very well score on a pick. He could also return kicks if needed, although there's a number of candidates ahead of him there.

Canady is currently listed as the backup to DreQuan Hoskey. Depending on how the two players perform during fall practice, either may end up starting the opener. Their actual playing time will depend largely on the opposition. Teams with a bigger WR may see more of Canady because of the size advantage he has over Hoskey. Teams that run a lot of 3 WR sets will see a lot of nickel defense, which will include both Canady and Hoskey.

The Hoos are pretty deep at CB, but right now only true freshman Tim Harris is as big as Canady. Harris is good enough to see the field this year, but Canady is still well ahead of him on the learning curve. With Nicholson and Hoskey a year ahead of him on the depth chart, Canady will likely be fighting for a starting job over the next two years. As a senior, Canady should end up being one of the top CBs in the ACC.