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J.R. Singleton to wear No. 58 in honor of former assistant coach Curtis Bray

%28From+left+to+right%29+Iowa+State+defensive+lineman+J.R.+Singleton%2C+Will+McDonald+and+Eyioma+Uwazurike+look+at+Iowa+States+sideline+for+a+play+call+against+Northern+Iowa+on+Sept.+4%2C+2021.
Collin Maguire/Iowa State Daily
(From left to right) Iowa State defensive lineman J.R. Singleton, Will McDonald and Eyioma Uwazurike look at Iowa State’s sideline for a play call against Northern Iowa on Sept. 4, 2021.

Redshirt junior J.R. Singleton became the newest defensive lineman chosen to wear No. 58 this season for the Cyclones in remembrance of former assistant coach Curtis Bray.

Since the 2014 season, a defensive lineman for the Iowa State football team has worn the number to honor coach Bray after he passed away from a pulmonary embolism earlier that year.

Bray wore the number when he played for Pittsburgh from 1988-92, before coaching at six Division I schools over the span of 20 years. He coached the Cyclone’s defensive line room from 2009 to 2013.

Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock talked about what went into the selection process and why they ended up choosing Singleton for this honorable tradition.

“I think that the characteristics are what we look for in that position,” Heacock said. “For us, it’s gathering the information from what everyone tells you about that kind of person, coach and player [Bray] was at Pitt. So, you just try and find the same characteristics.”

After he was selected on Saturday, Singleton took time to reflect on what an honor it is to be chosen by his coaches and represent coach Bray during the upcoming season.

“Being chosen to wear the number 58 is nothing short of a blessing,” Singleton said. “Not only are you representing the known name Bray, but you’re representing the ability he had to impact others. We talk about legacy a lot in this program. I always ask myself, ‘How do you want to be remembered?’ If I can leave an impact on this team, community and my family, I think I struck good. I am grateful for the opportunity and ready for the challenge.”

Since redshirting his initial year with the Cyclones in 2020, Singleton has made a name for himself on and off the field. While he’s been an impact player for the Cyclone’s recent success up front, his efforts in the classroom have not gone unrecognized.

Singleton earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2021 followed by a second team selection in 2022.

On the field, the Illinois native has played in 20 games, including eight starts over the past two seasons for Iowa State, and has compiled 20 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles.

Singleton is currently listed as the Cyclones’ starting defensive tackle for the season opener against UNI.

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