Stampeders’ fresh running back duo headlines new look line-up

Courtesy: Calgary Stampeders

The Calgary Stampeders will debut a bevy of new starters on Friday for the home opener, including a new two-headed backfield.

B.J. Emmons, who rushed nine times for 39 yards and two touchdowns in one preseason appearance, has been listed as the starter at fullback for his first regular season game in a Stampeders uniform. Dedrick Mills, who ran for 802 yards last year in place of Ka’Deem Carey, will still start at running back. With the team now listing one fewer starting receiver than typical, the move suggests that a two-back set will be the base for the team going forward.

Veteran receivers Marken Michel and Reggie Begelton will be the Stamps’ designated nationalized Americans on offences, with the ability to substitute for Canadian starters Jalen Philpot and Cole Tucker in the slot for up to 25 plays each. They’ll also be able to rotate in without restriction for the team’s two new starting Americans, Cameron Echols and Erik Brooks — both of whom will be making their first career CFL start.

Along the offensive line, D’Antne Demery and Josh Coker have claimed the two starting tackle spots, with the usual trio of Bryce Bell, Sean McEwen, and Zack Williams inside.


Defensively, Calgary will have three new starters in the secondary, as 2023 CFL interception leader Demerio Houston makes his debut at boundary cornerback and former NFLer Rodney Randle Jr. steps in at field halfback. Long-time vet Branden Dozier will slide down to strong-side linebacker to fill the void left by surprise training camp cut Titus Wall, while rookie Bentlee Sanders makes his first career start at safety.

Canadian Micah Teitz will draw the start at middle linebacker after joining the team in free agency but will be rotated with designated nationalized American Micah Awe. Charles Wiley will earn his first start at defensive tackle and could be the player to step out when both linebackers are on the field in the same package.

Seven players will begin the year on the six-game injured list for the Stampeders including fullback William Langlais (undisclosed) and receiver Malik Henry (knee). Defensive back Daniel Amaoko (knee), defensive lineman Jason Janvier-Messier (Achilles), receiver Rysen John (hamstring), offensive lineman Kyle Saxelid (knee), and linebacker Darius Williams (calf) will also be unavailable long term.

Running back/returner Peyton Logan, receiver Tre Odoms-Dukes, offensive linemen Trevon Tate and Rodeem Brown, quarterback Logan Bonner, and defensive back Nick Statz will all be healthy scratches and begin the year on the one-game injured list.

The Calgary Stampeders (0-0) will host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-0) at McMahon Stadium on Friday, June 7 with kickoff slated for 9:00 p.m. EDT. The opposing depth chart can be found here.

Graphic courtesy: Calgary Stampeders