We’re featuring back-to-back Grey Cup champions on our list of the top 100 CFL players. Checking in today is halfback/safety Brandon Alexander of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Alexander played four seasons at the University of Central Florida (2011-2014) during which he recorded 241 total tackles, 19 pass knockdowns, 7.5 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, four fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, and one sack in 46 games.
He was a walk-on as a freshman, but earned a full scholarship for the following three years. Named second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference as a senior, Alexander looked to make the leap to the NFL as a free safety.
The Orlando native attended rookie mini-camp with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent but didn’t make the final roster. He remained unsigned for the 2015 and 2016 NFL seasons before deciding to come north, signing with Winnipeg.
One of the reasons Alexander didn’t get a more substantial NFL opportunity was the 4.66 forty-yard dash he ran at his pro day. As a six-foot, 190-pound defensive back, it’s tough to get attention from NFL scouts running anything above 4.60.
Speed doesn’t automatically equal success, however. For Alexander, it’s his smarts and his motor that have consistently earned praise from the coaching staff in Winnipeg.
“He’s got an all-day motor,” Mike O’Shea told the media in June 2017. “I would say the number one thing you know about him when you watch the film is he can run all day. He’s that type of guy that if he’s on the roster, you’d think he’d play every special team and have the possibility to start, too, and that doesn’t come around very often. You love guys with that kind of motor.”
Alexander was named Winnipeg’s Most Outstanding Rookie for his play at field-side halfback. He made 56 total tackles, two forced fumbles, and one pick-six in 18 games.
He remained an impact player for the Blue Bombers over the next two seasons, adding another 82 total tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. The 27-year-old handled a position change well when he was moved from halfback to safety in 2019.
Arguably Alexander’s best moment as a member of the Blue Bombers came in the 2019 Grey Cup when he intercepted Dane Evans on his first pass attempt of the game. The pick set the tone for what would be a dominant performance by Winnipeg’s defence, posting six sacks and seven takeaways in a 33-12 victory.
Alexander signed a two-year contract extension in February 2019 worth approximately $95,000 per season. He is slated to become a free agent in February 2021.
3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DL John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions