Sophomore bump, no slump for Stampeders defensive leader

Even the casual football fan has to notice Alex Singleton these days.

Not only does the Calgary Stampeders middle linebacker have that curly flow of black hair out the back of his helmet, he just always seems to be where the ball is headed.

And in a year when the Stamps are once again the best team, their sophomore ‘Canadian’ is leading the way on the defensive side of the ball.

The 23-year-old set a CFL record with a third straight game of double digit tackles when he recorded 11 against the B.C. Lions on Saturday night.

That follows games where he had 13 and 11 tackles in the sweep over the Edmonton Eskimos. If you are watching the Stamps on defence, No. 49 is always in on the plays.

The 35 tackles in three games — plus two sacks over that period — has vaulted the Thousand Oaks, Calif., native into the league lead with 91 tackles on the season. He’s on pace for 136 this season, which would shatter the Stampeders record held by Doug Landry (122 in 1989). He’s already at the best season of any Stampeders defensive player since George White recorded 116 tackles in 2005.

The pace he’s at now would put him in striking distance of the 143 that Solomon Elimimian had in 2014 when he was named league MOP.

So here’s the question? On a team that’s great overall, does Singleton’s numbers warrant a sweep of award nominations at the end of the season?

It’s strange when looking at the league stats and seeing nothing much eye-popping when from this team.

Sure, running back Jerome Messam is leading the league in rushing, but his 5.0-yard average isn’t that impressive. He’s getting plenty of opportunities to run the ball. Messam could miss some time after taking a nasty hit to the head against the Lions, so that could affect how his season finishes up. He’s on pace for another 1,000-yard season, which would be a solid year.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell would even admit he and the offence aren’t having a great year, which is funny to say when you consider this team has lost once and tied once in 12 outings. Mitchell’s QB rating of 98.3 is good but he’s ranked sixth in that category among starters. He does win games and comes up big at key moments, so it’s hard to argue he isn’t the most valuable player on this team, but most outstanding this year is debatable.

There are no standouts in the receiving corps either, as Marquay McDaniel leads in yardage but is 12th overall in the league.

So how are the Stamps doing this? A balanced game with all three phases contributing, but the defence is leading the way.

Their 18.5 points allowed per game is way better than every other team in the league.

Singleton is a key cog this year, and the fact that he has Canadian status because his mother was born in our country is a great bonus to the Stamps.

There’s a chance he could end up as the nominee from the Stamps as top Canadian, top defensive player, and the most outstanding player.

He picked up his second player of the week recognition for his outing against the Lions. What he’s doing is gaining elite status among defenders, as his nose for the ball is giving the Stamps a valuable playmaker in the middle.

Ian Busby

Ian Busby

Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.
Ian Busby
Ian Busby
About Ian Busby (175 Articles)
Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.

22 Comments on Sophomore bump, no slump for Stampeders defensive leader

  1. Lancaster/Reed // September 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm //

    There needs to be an asterisk beside singleton’s record since the cfl only started counting tackles in 1987.

  2. white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm //

    As there should be for Bobby Jurasin, James Curry etc etc

    • Lancaster/Reed // September 23, 2017 at 6:05 pm //

      For sacks? Sure. Didnt think James Curry had any sack records, but since you have a riders obsession, maybe you know more about rider teams and league records than me.

      • white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 6:07 pm //

        I’m not sure he had records..but and stat of any defensive player should have the same asterisk.

    • Lancaster/Reed // September 23, 2017 at 6:16 pm //

      Interesting that you remember james curry. He was only a rider for 3 seasons. Awwwwwwww, was the first stamps playoff game you attended at mcmahon the 1989 west semi-final when the riders defeated calgary in a come from behind victory, on their way to winning what is arguably the best grey cup game ever? Did james curry have a monster game that haunts you to this day? Was your little heart crushed that day? Was that the start of your obsessive hatred of the riders?

      • white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 6:27 pm //

        I know Curry only because he did color commentary for the CFL on CBC for a few years and was the first Afro-American to do so.
        I love how you bring that game up. Unfortunately I was not there and back then local games were blacked out and not televised in the region. I’ve always wanted to talk to someone who was at that game. I listened to it on the radio and sounds like a Calgary receiver dropped an easy TD catch in the last minute.

        • Lancaster/Reed // September 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm //

          But you do associate curry with the riders, otherwise there is no logical reason for you to mention him alongside jurasin.

          • white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm //

            He mentioned it a lot on air and I remember reading an article on him in a magazine once

      • white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 6:29 pm //

        FYI since that wsf in 1989 Calgary has hosted a playoff game every year but 5(that includes the 3 years out of playoffs under Feterik)

        • Lancaster/Reed // September 23, 2017 at 6:36 pm //

          Good for them. I recall their start of the run was when calgary signed Flutie to a personal services contract, while not specifically illegal from the cfl, certainly torched and stomped on the rules of fair play and sportsmanship.

          • white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm //

            That is true. Rules changes after that. As they will if the riders continue to pamper players with private planes etc etc

          • white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 7:05 pm //

            Actually the run has its roots in 1989. Thats when they started getting good. Adding Wally following the 89 wsf lose and Flutie in 1992 where the final pieces.

          • Lancaster/Reed // September 23, 2017 at 8:02 pm //

            Unfortunately, the current cfl cap can be circumvented by privately owned teams, cough, cough, by paying extra salary through another business entity, much like the personal services contracts of the past, since the league is unable to look at those books. The rules didnt so much change as teams just promised not to cheat.So i am very skeptical of “home town discounts ” that players give these privately owned teams. Edmonton and Saskatchewan , as the only community owned teams, would be unable to hide such payments, as all businesses connected to the team, like the rider store, can be inspected by the cfl.

          • white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm //

            Then I guess you better come into the 21st century and stop your community owned Mom and Pop operation

          • CFLs Best since 1990 // September 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm //

            I know you guys are having your peeing contest, but that’s about the fifth time I’ve heard that type of comment in the last couple of articles.

            I like how you guys are the “fair play and sportsmanship” police. I guess somebody’s got to do it, huh?

  3. white stallion in red // September 23, 2017 at 6:05 pm //

    Good question Busby. No one stands out stats wise (a sign of a true great team). You could argue him for Stamps MOP, top defence and top Canadian. Realistically league wise; top defensive should be a shoe in and MOP could have a fair chance. Top Canadian however, he would be hard pressed to beat out Trevor Harris for the western nominee. Special teams, hard to argue Roy Finch right now. Top lineman, was Spencer Wilson but with the injury I’d say Ucambre Williams now.

  4. Alex Singleton is a player I am destined to have a love hate thing with. I hate him playing my cats. I hope for self inflicted food poisoning all the time. To see him play others, or even practice, is beautiful

  5. CFLs Best since 1990 // September 23, 2017 at 9:06 pm //

    Those individual stat lines, lead by players from around the league EXCEPT for the 10-1-1 team, are a real interesting thread in all of this.

    Would you prefer Nichols, Reilly or Bo? Harris, Johnson or Messam? The Eskimos, Lions, or Stampeders’ receiving corps? Whose O-Line?

    Okay, that’s the offensive side… now let’s take a look at defense and special teams, shall we? Nah, I think I just made my point.

    • CFLs Best since 1990 // September 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm //

      Ok, that WAS a big oops on my part. Leaving out the Riders’ receiving group will be noticed by a select gang of fans, lol. Hey, I’ll admit it, they may even be the league’s best. But it is debatable.

    • Lancaster/Reed // September 23, 2017 at 10:03 pm //

      Its ALL debateable. QB – Reilly. Tough as nails. Is taking a beating this year but is still slinging the ball effectively. And that was before getting Walker back.
      RB- Harris. Best overall. No contest.
      O Line – thats tough. Calgary has given up fewest sacks and pressures, with Winnipeg second, but the riders are only a few behind and have improved a ton ever since labatte moved to centre. Coin toss? Edge Calgary?
      Receiving – even tougher. Ottawa has 2 in top 4 , BC their top 2 are great but huge dropoff after. calgary no frontrunners but all solid, winnipeg is good but lots of receiving yards from harris, so their numbers are skewed. Riders top 3 are extremely good but no clear and consistant #4 ( although holly is close). I will have to go with edmonton. Zylstra, williams, hazelton, mitchell, and now Bowman is back as well as walker.

  6. Just saying // September 23, 2017 at 11:49 pm //

    Hey all like I said in other blogs just Hopeing for an awesome game win or lose hopefully a win though

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