At the University of Memphis, and across the NCAA there are plenty of football players with plenty of different goals. Many have the goal of getting drafted into the NFL and making a name for themselves as football players, some want to be good in the class room and get their degree, and some even have goals of just being good enough to have played college football, and be able to play on Saturdays, but for Tigers’ linebacker Geoffrey Cantin-Arku from Levis, Quebec, Canada, he has set goals for himself to not only be drafted into the NFL like many others have, but to also make his mother back home proud.
To be playing at the University of Memphis, a lot of sacrifices had to be made by Cantin-Arku. Moving across the border was one, and was something he did in 2019, first playing at Syracuse University, and another big sacrifice made by Cantin-Arku would be how he put aside any other possible hobbies to focus on the game of football, and the game of football only. In a sit down interview with JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic the Quebec native told Zlomislic, “I live football.” explaining, “I don’t really have any hobbies. This is all I know, and I love it. I’m a grinder, so you will always see me getting better, and I want to be as good as I can at football because of how much I love it.”
Coming from Canada, football wasn’t his first sport, hockey was, but after playing football for one season it didn’t take much for him to forget about hockey. “I fell in love with it right away. After that (season) I never asked my momma to play hockey again.” he said, “I think I liked football because I was good at it.”
“I was always taller, and built a bit more than kids my age so I was able to play football well.” Cantin-Arku told Zlomislic, “I played quarterback, running back, linebacker, safety, I played everywhere when I started. I even played on the line at edge. It was a good experience.”
His football experience continued through high school and took him to CEGEP where he played at Garneau. CEGEP for those that do not know is similar to a Junior College, or a Prep School, just located in Quebec, Canada, and not in the United States. “I played at CEGEP for three years, when I was 18,19, and 20 years old. I played safety all three years there and my CEGEP coach took me to a camp in Syracuse where I ended up getting my offer.” he mentioned, “it was my first NCAA camp. I remember the only thing on my mind going to that camp was that offer. They visited me twice I think in Quebec before that so I knew they were interested, but it was the camp that made them offer me and it was great to have that opportunity.”
From that point on, he played in a total of 30 games with the Syracuse Orange. Starting off as a freshman, he mainly played on special teams, making just one tackle in 9 games. In 2020 in his true sophomore season he broke through, making 63 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble for a score against Duke. With less playing time than he would have liked the following year, considering the snap count, he had an even more impressive season than 2020 with 43 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and a sack. If he had the playing time he would have liked in 2021, things would have been much different, and having been named Pro Football Focus’ 7th top rated linebacker across the NCAA, he would be heavily talked about around the NFL Draft. That is why he entered the transfer portal, and transferred to the University of Memphis in attempt to make a big impact on the Tigers defence and raise his draft stock for when it is time for him to enter the NFL.
Going into this 2022 season, Cantin-Arku was draft eligible, and he still is. With two good seasons behind him, one big season this year with the Tigers would make him a good prospect for any NFL teams in need of a linebacker. 5 games in, he’s made 20 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a sack. To raise his draft stock, he’ll need to have a solid finish to the regular season and a good playoff run with the Tigers, or he can return to the University of Memphis for the 2023 season for his final year of eligibility. Either or, whatever happens, Cantin-Arku’s goals stay the same.
He is focused on being the best football player to his ability, and wants to make his mom, and the rest of his family proud.
Cantin-Arku and the University of Memphis Tigers take on the Houston Cougars on Friday for their 6th game of the season in attempt to go 5-1, on a 5 game winning streak. Next week there will be more content from JZ Media in regards to Cantin-Arku so stay tuned.