By Anthony Merjanoff
After an outstanding two-year career with the East Los Angeles Huskies football program, star quarterback Aaron Cantu has moved on and enrolled at Southern Utah University.
Cantu let it be known via Twitter that he signed his letter of intent with SUU on December 19, 2012. He received offers from Hampton University as well as other Division I schools.
The SUU Thunderbirds finished 5-6 and ended up fifth in the Big Sky Conference last season. “He feels like he needs to work hard and they are expecting a lot from him,” John Cantu, Aaron’s father, said.
He’s had a magical career here at East Los Angeles College and is expected to carry this on to Southern Utah University. “I can bring leadership, experience and poise to the offense,” Aaron Cantu said.
It wasn’t until he played pop warner football around the age of 13 for the East LA Bobcats, when they were undefeated and won a championship that Aaron showed some flashes of being a skillful athlete. “It really took off after his freshman year. He just got better and better,” John Cantu said.
In Aaron’s Cantu’s freshman year, he led the Huskies to a winning season resulting in a Mountain Conference Championship and a bowl win. He owns 10 records in the ELAC football record books and is tied for another.
“His hard work is getting him somewhere; he has been working to be a scholar athlete his whole life. Football has basically been his driving force for the past five or six years,” John Cantu said.
During his sophomore year when Aaron Cantu attended Schurr High School in Montebello, he played outside linebacker and was named defensive captain for the varsity team, showing he was ready to lead a team.
During Cantu’s junior year, he became the starting quarterback for the Spartans and was able to put up 2,500 passing yards during the season.
At the end of Cantu’s high school career, he received a few NCAA Division II offers but it was nothing he felt too great about. Aaron ended up picking ELAC as his school of choice due to their strong interest in him and the fact that it was close to home.
After Cantu’s freshman year at ELAC, he received an offer to Louisiana Tech University. When he was near to signing, he elected not to go due to their decision to go in a different direction at quarterback.
It wasn’t always easy for the standout Husky quarterback, as he questioned whether he could keep playing football for the long-run. His first moment came his freshmen year.
When recruited, he was told he would get the starting job but once the time came around, Cantu found himself sitting on the bench.
“I was recruited hard to be the starter at ELAC my freshman year and did not start the season, as we began 1-3. I felt like I could have been contributing and didn’t know what to do, being on the bench,” Cantu said.
Cantu ended up getting the starting job and everything turned out alright as he led the Huskies, winning their final eight games.
Cantu threw for 5,957-yards, 55 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions on a 65% completion rating during his career as a Husky. He also rushed for eight touchdowns.
Cantu again found himself doubting how long he could continue to play football this past season when he separated his shoulder in a game against Southwestern College.
“I was scared of the severity of the injury and how long I would be out. I really began to ask myself ‘how long was I going to continue to play,’” Cantu said.
In his return game, he came back with a great performance tying an ELAC record he had previously set earlier in the season, by throwing for six touchdown passes against San Bernardino Valley College.
“I was relieved,” Aaron said of the comeback game.
Football wasn’t always the sport Cantu saw himself having a future in, “Aaron’s first love was basketball. I am extremely proud and excited. He is a humble kid, he has learned what hard work truly is, and he has exceeded all our expectations,” John Cantu said.
Aaron Cantu plans to major in Communications at Southern Utah University.
“ELAC has matured me into a great individual on and off the field. I developed numerous friendships that will last forever and like the slogan says, ‘Start at ELAC, go anywhere!’ Now I am at Southern Utah University,” Cantu said