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COC football: Antonio Guy - The place he belongs

Posted: November 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.

College of the Canyons defensive lineman Antonio Guy has found his fit with the Cougars this season, after spending the 2011 season away from the game and working on oil fields in Louisiana.

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Instead of being where he belonged, 6-foot-2-inch, 280-pound Antonio Guy was working in an oil field last year.

Just two years prior, Clemson, Duke and some other NCAA Division I colleges were interested in him.

But the humble, good-natured defensive lineman was out of football and in the working force.

Now, Guy, a military kid who called eight cities home, is now in his ninth home in Santa Clarita.

But now he’s really home — on a football field, as one of the premier defensive players for College of the Canyons football.

“I missed football so much,” Guy recalls of his time away from the game. “I loved the game. There were depressing days when I sat in my room. I loved the sport.”

Guy was a star defensive lineman at Fort Dorchester High in North Charleston, S.C. where he was a two-time All-County selection.

He took a tour of Clemson as a senior in 2009.

But grades prevented him from landing at an NCAA Division I school.

So he went to NCAA Division II Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina to play football.

But being away from his family for the first time, he had a hard time adjusting and decided to leave the school to move back in with his family, which was now living in Louisiana.

In Louisiana, he realized how much he missed the game. Yet his father, William Jones — a 28-year veteran of the Air Force, who is the western recruiting squadron superintendent, said his son found a way to not let his sorrow for not playing consume him.

“He was busy working. When he came home, he got a job in the oil fields, and it was manual labor. Getting up at 5 a.m. Coming home at 8,” Jones says. “He did it without complaining. He worked hard. But he realized, ‘I need an education.’”

Guy was enrolled at Bossier Parish Community College in Northern Louisiana, but not playing football when a recruiting website brought Guy to the attention of the College of the Canyons coaches, and soon there was a mutual interest.

Then something happened that made Guy and COC the right fit.

“I got orders to go out to California,” Jones says. “He looked at me. I looked at him. (He thought), ‘I guess that’s where we’re supposed to be.’”

College of the Canyons football has only two games remaining in the season.

Through eight games, the defense has been up and down.

But few players have been as consistent as the freshman defensive tackle.

Guy has been in the offensive backfield more than any Cougar lineman this season.

He leads the team in tackles for loss.

And he’s a guy who never gives up on a play.

Many times this year, he’s come from the opposite end of a play at its start only to chase down the ballcarrier.

“He’s got a motor,” says COC head coach Garett Tujague. “A kid with a motor is someone constantly moving. He constantly changes direction quickly. He’s a good defensive lineman — very talented. His effort makes him better. He’s constantly moving. His energy is contagious. He makes others around him better.”

The kid who answers questions with a “yes sir” and is as polite and respectful as they come, has shown his appreciation for being given the opportunity to play football.

He does something that Tujague says is so rare.

Guy explains it and why he does it.

“It means so much to have this opportunity to play again, so I shake the coaches’ hands before every game,” Guy says. “I love being out there with my teammates. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. It’s such an honor to play here.”

Making the most of his opportunity, if he continues to improve, he’ll make more opportunities for himself.

“I think he’s a major BCS Division I guy,” Tujague says. “If he can stay healthy, have an offseason with (COC head strength and conditioning coach Robert dos Remedios), he could be pretty dangerous. He’s so much ahead as a freshman than anybody else — leaps and bounds because of the experience he had coming in. ...If he can have a (successful) offseason, he’s going to be special.”

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