January 31, 2023

First Impressions

The countdown to rookie camp is on – doors will open to all the CFL newcomers in just 99 days.

While we wait to meet the ‘new guys,’ let’s look back on five rookies who certainly made an impression in their first season in red and white.

Titus Wall

The 23-year-old Ohio native wasted no time making his mark. Wall got his opportunity to start at the SAM linebacker position in Week 2 on the road against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats due to a banged-up secondary.

In one of the most impressive comebacks in Stampeders history, the rookie recorded one interception, one forced fumble and one touchdown.

The Red and White found themselves in a 17-0 hole to end the first quarter, and by halftime were down 24-3. The TiCats continued where they left off in the second half, but Wall put an end to the drive with his first CFL interception. The turnover ignited the Stampeders offence and swung the momentum in Calgary’s favor.

He continued to contribute to the comeback with a forced fumble that he took back all the way to the endzone to even the score at 27-a-piece with 4:04 left to go in the fourth quarter.

The Missouri State graduate showed up big again in another game where the offence was struggling to find a spark. In Week 9 on the road in the nation’s capital, Wall scored the team’s first touchdown of the game when he picked off Redblacks quarterback Nick Arbuckle and returned it to the house.

He secured the victory for the Red and White with another interception in the fourth quarter.

In what was becoming a strong campaign for rookie of the year, Wall unfortunately suffered a foot injury in Week 11 against the Toronto Argonauts. He returned to play again in the final game of the regular season against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Wall finished his rookie year with three interceptions, two touchdowns, two forced fumbles, two sacks and 42 total tackles in 10 games.

He was named a CFL Top Performer in Week 2 and Week 9.

Peyton Logan

Emerging as the primary backup to Ka’Deem Carey, Logan also showed off his speed and elusiveness on special teams.

In Week 5 against the Edmonton Elks, the 24-year-old returned a missed field goal for 122 yards and a touchdown. The last time a Stampeder returned a missed field goal for a touchdown was exactly 10 years earlier to the day on July 7, 2012, when Larry Taylor took one 125 yards back against the Argos.

The Tennessee-Martin product found the endzone again in Week 10 against the BC Lions when he returned a kickoff 99 yards.

In 16 games played, Logan tallied 58 carries for 365 rushing yards, 74 punt returns for 787 yards, 25 kickoff returns for 612 yards and a touchdown plus, one missed field goal return for 122 yards and a touchdown.

He was nominated for Most Outstanding Rookie and was named a CFL Top Performer in Week 5.

Dedrick Mills

Mills showed off his explosiveness in the pre-season with a 67-yard rumble against the Elks and a touchdown in both contests.

In August, opportunity came knocking for Dedrick Mills due to injuries to fellow running backs Ka’Deem Carey and Peyton Logan. Mills recorded his first 100-yard rushing game of 2022 against the Redblacks in Week 9 in his first start.

The Nebraska product cracked the 100-yard rushing milestone in back-to-back weeks against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, as well as recording a touchdown in each contest.

He was named a CFL Top Performer in Week 20 and Week 21.

Jalen Philpot

The 2022 first-round draft pick wouldn’t make his debut until Week 3 due to an injury suffered in rookie camp, but the former University of Calgary Dino sure showed his worth when his number was called.

The 22-year-old recorded his first touchdown against his hometown Lions in Week 8. In that same game, he returned a kickoff for 77 yards.

Philpot completed his first CFL season with 23 receptions on 33 targets, 317 yards, and three touchdowns in 14 games.

Tommy Stevens

The 26-year-old was selected in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He had a brief stint with the Carolina Panthers and was eventually signed by the Red and White on Jan. 4, 2022.

He beat out Chase Fourcade for the third-string spot in training camp.

Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 245 lb., the quarterback used his size to his advantage and played a key role in goal-line and short yardage situations.

The Penn State product recorded four rushing touchdowns against the Elks in Week 14. In that same game, he made a crucial block to set up a Ka’Deem Carey touchdown that would put the Stamps up 56-28.

He set a Stampeders franchise record for most rushing yards in a single game by a quarterback in Week 20 as he galloped for 163 and a touchdown against the Roughriders. He also threw his first CFL touchdown in that game to Jalen Philpot.

Stevens finished his first CFL season with 297 rushing yards, and 10 touchdowns.

He was named a CFL Top Performer in Week 21.