University of Calgary quarterback Adam Sinagra is the unquestioned front-runner for the Hec Crighton Trophy and CFL personnel men are taking notice.
The third-year Dinos signal caller put on a display for the ages in Saskatoon on Sept. 14, the type of signature performance that makes Sinagra the leading candidate to be named the best player in Canadian university football. He passed for 569 yards against the University of Saskatchewan which ranks second-most in a single game all-time to fellow Calgary product Greg Vavra who has the record at 627.
It was just another day at the office for Sinagra, who is averaging 428 passing yards with 13 touchdowns with a 68.1 completion rate in four games, on pace for more than 3,400 yards through the regular season. Consider the fact Sinagra has produced that total against arguably the other top teams in the Canada West conference – Regina, UBC (twice) and Saskatchewan.
Sinagra’s skill level improved markedly after attending Calgary Stampeders training camp. Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson has decades of knowledge about playing and coaching the pivotal position at an elite level in the Canadian game. Bo Levi Mitchell, the 2016 Most Outstanding Player and Grey Cup champion and MVP, ranks among the best at quarterback in the CFL. Just being in the presence of Dickenson and Mitchell benefits any young quarterback, but Sinagra gleaned all he could from the opportunity.
Sinagra learned how Mitchell goes through his reads while dropping back to pass and, as a result, the decision-making from the Pointe Claire, Quebec native has been impeccable. He’s also adopted some of the swagger Mitchell naturally exudes.
The last Dinos quarterback who went through an apprenticeship with the Stampeders won a Hec Crighton Trophy, became a CFL draft pick, claimed another Hec and played two seasons for the pro team in Calgary: Andrew Buckley. And Buckley has returned to his alma mater to help Sinagra in a coaching role. Sinagra is developing physically but he’s around the same height and weight as Buckley. who was listed at six-foot-one 205 pounds when he retired from the CFL.
Sinagra spent an extra year in CEGEP at John Abbott College and has produced at a high level right from the start. Sinagra was the 2016 Hardy Cup MVP, then came off the bench to throw for 276 yards and one touchdown against Laval in the Vanier Cup that year. He led the Dinos to another Hardy Cup title in 2017 during his first year as the full-time starter and passed for 318 yards in a hard-fought defeat to Laval in the championship game once again.
That consistent production, growth and tape against Laval could be vital for Sinagra during the evaluation process by CFL scouts. Put a flashy Hec Crighton on the resume and it looks similar to Buckley who earned a chance in the pro game with many of the same accolades, school and mentors – Dinos offensive coordinator Ryan Sheahan coached both in their formative university time.
“Sinagra is playing really well and he’ll get a look,” one CFL scout said.
Buckley proved quarterbacks groomed entirely in Canada can compete alongside any regardless of the passport in the CFL. If Sinagra keeps slinging it around for gaudy numbers a legitimate pro shot should come to pass.