East-West game to feature Destrehan alum

Former Destrehan football star B.J. Singleton looks to take advantage of a major opportunity this Saturday afternoon.The University of Houston senior is ready to take the field for the 92nd Annual East-West Shrine Game, which pits two All-Star teams of standout college seniors and NFL Draft hopefuls against one another for one last chance to impress scouts in on-field competition.

The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. and it will be broadcast live on the NFL Network.

Singleton played defensive end for Destrehan and was recruited to do the same at Houston. But he bulked up and shifted to nose tackle in the Cougars’ 3-4 defensive scheme during the 2015 season, and the move paid dividends: according to the team’s website, he led the team’s defensive line with 15 “knockbacks” of opposing blockers and 13 “two-fers,” defined as a defender taking on two offensive linemen on the same play.

In 2016, he was a key part of Houston’s defensive line rotation, playing in all 12 of the team’s games this season. He helped his team score an upset win over then-No. 3 Oklahoma, recording two quarterback hurries in that game. He also made a pair of tackles in Houston’s win over another third-ranked foe at the time, Louisville.

He helped spur Houston on to a 13-1 season in 2015 and a 9-4 mark in 2016.

Singleton joins an elite list of football greats who have participated in the game, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 74 NFL Hall of Famers. On average, there are more than 265 East-West Shrine Game alumni on NFL rosters each year. A strong performance at the East-West Shrine Game can greatly impact a player’s chances of a career in the NFL.

More than 100 players from last year’s game signed with professional teams last spring, with and more than 70 of those making final NFL rosters.

Entering his senior season, Singleton was pointed out by NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter as one of the 16 best prospects from outside the “Power 5” conferences.

Hahnville assistant football coach Chris Stroud is especially glad to see Singleton find success. Stroud was Destrehan’s head coach during Singleton’s junior and senior seasons, and he said his former player deserves success and boasts exciting potential.

“B.J. was one of those real athletic kids. He came from basketball, but he loved football,” Stroud said. “He was a great defensive end with great speed. He played a little bit on the inside for us, but always had great athleticism. As you’ve watch him mature over last couple years at Houston, it’s been really exciting to watch him on TV and see him becoming this bigger, more physical player, evolving from the more lean, athletic type of player he was for us.”

Stroud said Singleton has put in the hard work to develop and, combined with his feel for the game, it allowed him to become a dominant force for the Cougars.

“He’s another great St. Charles Parish kid, a River Parishes guy who has worked extremely hard,” Stroud said. “I hope to see him get that chance to play (in the future) on Sunday.”

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