Calijah Kancey Wants To Be Calijah Kancey

July 17th, 2023

Not Aaron Donald.

As a defensive tackle that played at Pitt, Bucs rookie Calijah Kancey looked up to Aaron Donald.

After all, Donald also played at Pitt. Then, after being drafted 13th overall in 2014 by the Rams and developing into a living legend defensive tackle, Donald became the gold standard to players like Kancey and his college teammates.

So when Kancey entered the draft and became the Bucs’ first-round pick, the comparisons to Donald were very predictable. And yes, Kancey is humbled by them, even though many believe it’s a sacrilege to compare anyone to Donald.

Kancey has mad respect for Donald and is proud of the comparisons to a degree. Deep down, Kancey wants fans to know he’s not Donald, he’s Calijah Kancey.

“It is definitely getting old,” Kancey told Joe the day after the Bucs selected him this spring. “But that’s what people see.

“I have to make a name for myself at this level so they can compare me to someone else.”

So that’s one of Kancey’s goals — to one day have draftniks constantly say a college player reminds them of Kancey.

If people don’t know how Kancey plays, his teammate Logan Hall told Joe they soon will.

“Great dude, just as good of a player,” Hall said. “He’s so fast, an amazing rusher. He’s going to be good.”

Hall is convinced the Bucs defense got better on draft night.

“Absolutely,” Hall said. “That was something that Coach Bowles has been commenting on. He wanted to make the defense faster. [Kancey] definitely brings that.”

If Kancey is remotely as good as projected, he’s one reason why Joe thinks the Bucs have a shot at having a scary good defense this fall.

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19 Responses to “Calijah Kancey Wants To Be Calijah Kancey”

  1. Fansince76 Says:

    Agreed Joe! Bucs could definitely have a top ten defense with all the new drafted players, veterans in place and Bowels is a great defensive coordinator.
    lets hope Bowels pans out as a decent head coach this year finally!

  2. Hodad Says:

    Without Tom Brady Bill Belichick has been a .500 coach. Winning records are not 100% on the head man, he has to have talent.

  3. Tap-Out Says:

    Some of you people think you can either blame the coach or the QB ….it is a team sport …again a team sport!

  4. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    With rookies expected to majorly contribute, a reshuffled O Line, and a brand new offense to master, temper expectations folks. Hoping for the best.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We got a lot younger at a lot of positions…..Kancey replaced Hicks or Gholston….

    Durhan replaced Brate, Mauch/Mason

    Our D will definitely be faster…..better?…we will see.

  6. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Both Yaya Diaby and Kancey were great picks. Hopefully this will put pressure on JTS and Logan Hall to step up their game.

  7. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Kancey is being projected as a Bust by several National Media Types.
    I sincerely hope he tears it up and proves them wrong!

  8. garro Says:

    Go for Kancey!

    Can’t wait for Our very own Mr Gene Deckerhoff to anounce to all of us “Kancey cancels Carr!”

    Go Bucs!

  9. SlyPirate Says:

    Kancey is the fastest DT ever … ever. That means opposing lineman cannot practice for him.

    Neither Sapp or Donald produced much rookie year, so have a little patience. (Then again, neither lined up next to Vea).

  10. RustyRhinos Says:

    Fantastic attitude for Kancey. I want to be my own man not be compared to a star, I want to show my team and my fans WHO I AM! And Garro I can’t wait for Kancey to dump Young twice every season. Love this young man’s attitude.

  11. SB~LV Says:

    He’ll get shuffled in and out of the rotations and learn the NFL on the go.
    The defense will get plenty of game minutes this year, more than the offense.
    He is still a kid as NFL players go .
    He should turn into a good player.

  12. Dooley Says:

    Kancey will be alright, everything that he does well will be accentuated by the personnel he’s surrounded by and hearing him talking about wanting to dig into the playbook so he could play as fast as possible is all I needed to hear from this kid. As long as he’s healthy and applying himself he’ll show up, it’s just the when/how and w/whom we’re all waiting to see.

    I think we’ll still be scaling back in terms of blitz frequency, but I think we’ll make up with that haven gotten faster with up front by using the stunt & twist game a lot more often(misdirection + more 1v1’s). Calijah flourished in his time at Pitt chaining his motor, strength, along with his lateral quickness all while having a really mature mindset in terms of being a technician at DT and not a guy just relying on athleticism to get him to win.

  13. Fred McNeil Says:

    I’ve got high hopes for the kid. He’s not exactly diminutive at 6’1″ 281 lbs. Hall was 288 lbs, but he’s 6’6″. That’s kinda smallish for a defensive tackle and he was drafted as a DT. Kancey should be able to get low against much taller, slower and fatter guards with relative ease and be stout enough to get a decent push so I think he should be at least OK against the run.

  14. Fred McNeil Says:

    I meant Hall is smallish at 288 because he is so tall. I realize he is about 296 now.

  15. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    We’ll see. So far the ROI on early round DL investment has been lacking.

  16. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    Sly I’m thinking 2024 is the year for defensive maturity on this squad.

    My prediction:

    Bowles will be fired
    Next guy comes in and brings back the Tampa 2 with this kid from Pitt starting at LB.

    Dennis is a lot like Derrick Brooks (huge shoes to fill) in style of play. He’s fast and can cover. Why would they draft a guy like that?

    Running the 3-4 in Tampa just doesn’t feel right. What is this the AFC North?

  17. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    Continuing on this theme.

    Forget about the division probably not going to happen. Let’s be honest with ourselves.

    So they brought in Mayfield to battle with Trask. This battle will go all season long unless one of them wins out of TC and plays lights out and they win games. Highly unlikely. By the end of 2023 the QB position becomes settled – hopefully. They got their QB ready for next year.

    Bowles fired.

    They roll into 2024 with min top 10 pick. Some moves are made to move their 2nd pick up getting aggressive in the draft.

    New coach decides if new QB is necessary. Hopefully not as drafting a rookie QB adds another year to the rebuild. They grab a WR and best defensive player on the board on their first two picks. Either they sign a RB or draft one rds 3-6.

    Bucs are ready to compete in 2024 for the NFC title.

  18. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Most of the fans on here will call kancey a bust if he doesn’t have an all star season his 1st year. Most Dline man don’t make a huge impact there 1st year. I’ll be patient with him like JTS n hall but this kid will dominate eventually kancey will be a beast

  19. RustyRhinos Says:

    Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    “Running the 3-4 in Tampa just doesn’t feel right.”

    I know it was oh so long ago, yet Tampa Bay has played a 3-4 defense in our history.