Childhood friends Bridge and Stanford connecting like brothers playing catch

Brandon Bridge knew what Josh Stanford was capable of when the Riders chose the Canadian receiver in the 2016 CFL Draft.

Stanford has been proving his childhood friend correct in 2018, especially during the last meeting against Hamilton.

Bridge and Stanford connected for a spectacular 29-yard throw and catch that set up the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter which made Saskatchewan a winner 18-13.

The quarterback-receiver tandem were as tight as brothers growing up, starring for St. Marcellinus High School in Mississauga, ON. Both went on to garner NCAA scholarships, Bridge Alcorn State and then South Alabama, Stanford Virginia Tech and then Kansas.

Stanford started 12 games in 2013 for the Hokies, setting freshman records with 40 catches for 640 yards. Consistent production and two 100-yard performances against Boston College and Miami highlighted Stanford’s initial foray into major American university and college football.

That flash of talent was rare for a freshman, especially from Canada. However, the production fell in 2014 and he left the team to take care of personal issues and eventually transferred to the University of Kansas.

Stanford left university after the 2015 season and attended the 2016 CFL Combine as the top-rated receiver by some teams. That setting didn’t suit Stanford well and as a result, his stock plummeted. After that evaluation weekend in Toronto, Saskatchewan did plenty of background research on the talented pass catcher, the Riders chose him in the eighth round, 62nd overall.

“Pretty close to the complete package,” one scout said when evaluating Stanford.

“Great after the catch, strong and well-built. He’s got good balance and vision and is hard to get on the ground.”

Chris Jones believed that if the proper environment was provided for Stanford he could thrive. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver recorded three catches for 59 yards as a CFL rookie, but the Riders released Stanford in June 2017. He stayed in shape and Jones brought him back four months later to finish the 2017 season on the Riders roster.

Another full training camp displayed the consistency Saskatchewan was seeking from Stanford. The 23-year-old played well enough for the Riders to feel comfortable letting trusted veteran national Rob Bagg go. Stanford has started all four games in 2018 and made a reception in every outing, the most noteworthy grab of the Riders season to date put the team back to .500 at 2-2.

When Jones explained training camp cuts he mentioned football being a young man’s game as the reason for releasing some veterans. Stanford has flashed the tantalizing ability put on film at Virginia Tech and the playmaking ability Bridge was sure he possessed.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
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Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (890 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

12 Comments on Childhood friends Bridge and Stanford connecting like brothers playing catch

  1. Stanford has talent. He just needs more playing time to get used to game speed and bloom into something special.

  2. Here’s hoping the O line shows up tomorrow and give Bridge time to throw a few passes to Stanford and the others.

  3. With Makana Henry (DL) injured a CDN spot opened up on the active roster. I hoped Braden Shram (OL) might be activated. Jones activated a Tristan Doughlin a CDN DB.

  4. Here is hopeing bridge can turn into an eleat
    Quarter back

  5. Never hurts when your QB has a personal playing experience with a WR from the past. Hopefully Stanford and Bridge can BOTH throw and catch some lightning in a bottle for the Riders.

  6. Great 8th round pick, that’s for sure. I was a big Bagg fan, but Stanford is showing why he won the job.
    youtu.be/GSYaCG5HwGQ?t=1h54m30s

  7. Blue rules // July 19, 2018 at 9:04 am //

    Sorry Rider’s fans, I don’t see what some of you see.
    To this point Brandon has not improved enough or any to say he will become an elite QB, worse now some are getting Gaga over Stanford?? The article never said anything about being a great receiver or have a great connection with Bridge, just that he caught a 27 Yard pass to set up the TD. Simple put it’s a feel good story.

    Anywho, have a good game tonight, play well, I can’t say I want the Rider’s to win, only because I’m a Bombers fan. We’re playing for positions in the West.

    Of course if the Rider’s do win I can just remove the contractions in the words don’t & can’t and then it sounds like support the Rider’s for this game.
    Play well, stay healthy. But loose by two points. LoL

  8. gridiron guru // July 19, 2018 at 10:25 am //

    i would really like to know how a dude like stanford drops to rd 8… starts at v tech as a freshman??? i assume he is a bit of a handful off the field, or has been in the past

    • I don’t know about being a handful but there was clearly something on off the field right from his final years in college right up until about last year. In his early time with the Riders I remember seeing him in training camp with awkward body language and bad drops. It looked like he had no confidence or concentration out there. Now he looks like a football player.

  9. Brandon Bridge has shown enough based on his play since 2015 that he is of a professional caliber. BUT he has to continue to improve and grow as a player and leader. If this is as far as he gets, his professional career might end in 2018. Stanford and Bridge will continue to grow and mature with increased playing time. No one is basing Stanford’s professional play on one completed pass. Stanford and Bailey combined should reach ca.600 yds in 2018, comparable production to Rob Bagg in 2016 and better than his 2017 yards.

    • The only tiny bit of this I disagree with is that I think Bridge did enough last year that no matter what happens this year someone will pick him up next year, but I agree with the rest.

  10. I am becoming really impressed with this receiver not just for his catches, but also for his ability and awareness when it comes to blocking–he has been a major contributor in this area on several big plays lately…

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