Player spotlight: Qwan'tez Stiggers unorthodox journey to the Shrine Bowl

Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; A detailed view of the East-West Shrine Bowl logo at midfield at
Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; A detailed view of the East-West Shrine Bowl logo at midfield at / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this year's East/West Shrine Bowl, players eligible to enter the NFL have descended on Dallas to showcase their talents to the NFL scouts and media. In addition to the various colleges that have players at this year's event is Qwan'tez Stiggers. What makes Stiggers' story different is that he most recently won Rookie of the Year honors in the Canadian Football League.

At 6'0" and 197 pounds he is a physical defender that has solid instincts and tracks the ball well on vertical routes. He's a ball hawk defender who can cover a large area and closes quickly to deliver a hit and make tackles. He finished his rookie campaign with 56 total tackles and five interceptions which was tied for second in the CFL. He shows a great ability to high-point the pass to make the interception and cause the disruption. He has solid speed to keep pace with receivers on the boundary and has the football IQ to use the sideline to his advantage.

While at the Shrine Bowl, I had an opportunity to chat with the young man. He told me that in February of 2020, as he was finishing his time in high school, his father was involved in a car accident that saw his car flip 13 times. In May he graduated high school in the Atlanta area and headed to Lane College in Tennessee. In September 2020, his father passed away and he left college to step up and help his mother take care of his family. His mother signed him up for the Fan Controlled Football League and he caught the attention of former Argos offensive coordinator John Jenkins and got an opportunity to join the Argos in the CFL.

Entering camp, he quickly showed the drive and willingness to improve that coaches want in their players. He earned a spot on the Argos roster and although the coaches saw the potential and the high ceiling for Stiggers, the quickness that Stiggers earned him a spot and started making an impact on the field impressed the staff at the Argos. Coach Ryan Dinwiddle of the Argos even stated that not too many guys can come in without college experience to take a spot on a roster.

In chatting with him at the Senior Bowl, I came away thinking that although he is just 21 years old, he shows a maturity level that few have. Fast forward to today, he has a family of his own and is a father himself. He has a drive to seize any and all opportunities and make the most of them. Today he is at the Shrine Bowl in an attempt to earn an opportunity in the NFL. One thing is clear, the young man will take the opportunity and work tirelessly to benefit the team and help the team win.