The Hamilton Tiger-Cats released the names of 10 players off their negotiation list on Tuesday as part of the CFL’s push for some measure of increased transparency.
The 45-man lists – which change frequently – consist mostly of American players from U.S. pro and college ranks and gives CFL teams their exclusive rights. The first team to submit a name has them added to their list.
Following the league meetings in January, the CFL announced each franchise would make 10 names from their neg lists public twice a year, once in February and the other in December. Previously, the names of players on neg lists were a closely-guarded secret, though the Ticats began releasing some names off their list last season (including quarterback Johnny Manziel.)
Here’s a look at the players the Ticats announced on Tuesday.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 218
NFL experience: Four seasons, former first-round pick
Notes: The most recognizable name on the list, the question is whether a guy who has earned over $28 million in the NFL will want to continue playing for relative peanuts in the CFL. Did not play at all in 2017.
Quote: “He’s performed at an amazing level both at the collegiate level and the NFL level,” said Ticats VP of football operations Kent Austin told the team’s website. “RGIII has the ability to take over a football game both with his arm and with his feet which is important in this league.”
McKenzie Milton, QB, Central Florida
Height: 5-foot-11, Weight: 177
NFL experience: None
Notes: Just finished a 12-0 season and a Peach Bowl win over Auburn as a sophomore and will have NFL aspirations. Size may work against him, however.
Quote: “Really exciting young player. Is extremely accurate, quick release, talented dual-threat quarterback. Big-time winner, put up huge numbers,” Austin said. “We believe his skills translate perfectly for this game.”
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Height: 6-foot-1, Weight: 219
NFL experience: None
Notes: Just won a national championship at Alabama as a freshman so he is a long-term commitment, sort of like Manziel, who the Ticats added during his first season at Texas A&M.
Quote: “I coached him his junior year in high school. He just gets it. He knows what wins, he’s won at every level that he’s played so far and he’ll continue to win right into pro football,” head coach June Jones said. “He throws the deep ball accurately, he can throw every kind of pass. He’s just a great player with the running ability of a running back.”
DuJuan Harris, RB, Troy
Height: 5-foot-7, Weight: 206
NFL experience: Six years, 34 games (4 starts)
Notes: An older guy, Harris is similar to current Ticat running back Alex Green who was on the NFL fringes before deciding to keep playing in Canada.
Quote: “He’s a player we’ve tracked as an organization for a long time. We feel like he’s a three-way running back that can run, catch and block,” said assistant general manager Shawn Burke. “He does everything well and that’s what you’re looking for in our system, versatility.”
Nathan Shepherd, DL, Fort Hays State
Height: 6-foot-5, Weight: 295
NFL experience: None
Notes: A Canadian, Shepherd played one season at Simon Fraser then was out of football for two years before returning to play at Division II school. Played well enough last year to get an invite to the Senior Bowl, a college showcase game.
Quote: “He grew and ate his way out of his original position,” Austin said. “What stands out is his overall athleticism for his size and he’s able to combine that with explosive power. You need to have guys that can push the pocket on the inside and he has the ability to do that.”
Randall Evans, DB, Kansas State
Height: 6-foot-0, Weight: 195
NFL experience: 3 years, 1 game
Notes: A former sixth-round pick of the Eagles, Evans hasn’t been able to establish himself in the NFL in three seasons.
Quote: “We’ve seen him in multiple NFL camps most recently with the Chargers,” said Burke. “As a DB we feel like he can play multiple positions, he’s got good length and speed which translates to the boundary side of the field. Above-average football IQ and is really excited to continue his football career.”
Julian Howsare, DE, Clarion
Height: 6-foot-3, Weight: 255
NFL experience: 3 years, 2 games
Notes: Was a defensive end in college and that’s where the Ticats will look to develop him should he sign with them.
Quote: “We feel like he was ultra-productive at the college level. When exploring his NFL options, they tried to turn him into a fullback mainly because of size,” Burke said. “We’ve seen Julian at NFL camps with a couple of teams and the Jets have had him in on a couple of occasions and when an organization brings a player back, it means he has some of the intangibles you look for in terms of intelligence and work ethic.”
Kalif Raymond, WR, Holy Cross
Height: 5-foot-9, Weight: 185
NFL experience: 2 years, 12 games
Notes: Currently on the New York Giants active roster so unlikely to be in training camp this season.
Quote: “He’s both a wide receiver and a returner, very very fast player,” Austin said. “Big play ability, very productive his last year in college and he’s also shown the ability to put the ball in the end zone as a returner.”
Jumal Rolle, DB, Catawba
Height: 6-foot-0, Weight: 188
NFL experience: 4 years, 19 games
Notes: Tore his Achilles and missed all of 2016 and hasn’t been able to get back on the field since. May need to come to the CFL to try and prove he’s all the way back.
Quote: “We really liked his size, he’s got great length, he’s very rangy, very experienced DB,” Austin said. “We believe his skills translate to the weak side corner position.”
Andrew Turzilli, WR, Rutgers
Height: 6-foot-4, Weight: 194
NFL experience: 4 years, 3 games
Notes: Guys with Turzilli’s size are a rare commodity in the CFL and he almost signed with the Ticats last season before inking a deal with the Giants. He’s since been released.
Quote: “He’s a long receiver, measuring over 6-foot-4 who has speed to get down the field. He’s a guy we’ve had on the neg list for a long time,” Burke said.