There wasn't a more dangerous running back in the 2008 Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs than Deven Cannon, the Johansen High senior who collected 594 yards and seven TDs in two postseason games.
He was set to be the star attraction in the Lions All-Star Football Classic, but Cannon will be picking up a check in Pasadena rather than picking his way around a defense.
He is receiving the 2009 Ray Bartlett Academic & Civic Excellence Scholarship, a $2,000 payday from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. The ceremony is tonight — beginning at the same time as the game.
"I was thrilled when I found out I got the scholarship, then I saw the banquet was on the same night as the game," Cannon said. "I really wanted to play in the game, but academics are the priority for me."
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The 5-foot-6-inch, 155-pound Cannon ran for 2,054 yards and 26 TDs last season, including his two playoff games, yet he won't play college football.
He bypassed offers from junior colleges and smaller four-year schools, instead electing to attend San Diego State and focus on criminal justice.
"It's tearing me up inside, knowing I won't play football, but I want to put everything into the academics," said Cannon, who piled up a career-high 375 yards and five TDs in a 47-13 playoff victory over McNair.. "I had a great time, especially last year." .
In addition to averaging 9.8 yards per carry, Cannon said he carried a 3.8 GPA while taking college prep courses.
"I got A's in most classes, but the B's came in math," he said. "When I was young, I'd want to go out and play right after school, but my mom always had me studying first.
"She told me homework always came first, and that stuck with me at Johansen."
Cannon, the son of Lori and Jeff Cannon, didn't close the door entirely on football.
"I'm going to stay in shape, because I want to see how the first year of college goes," he said. "If I do well, I might try to get on the football field and play in my sophomore year."