3DownNation top 100 CFL players: No. 100 DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

It never hurts to have a little bit of extra ‘cash’ in the bank.

Defensive end Chris Casher is the first player we are featuring on the 3DownNation top 100 CFL players list. This series will recognize the league’s top talent on a daily basis until our No. 1 player is revealed on December 31, 2020.

Casher committed to Florida State University in 2012, joining a team that featured future first-round NFL draft picks EJ Manuel, Jameis Winston, Kelvin Benjamin, and Cameron Irving. The native of Mobile, Alabama was a top-fifty national recruit who received offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oregon and Tennessee following his graduation from Mobile Davidson High School.

Casher dressed for two games as a true freshman, recording one tackle against Wake Forest. He soon suffered a season-ending knee injury, forcing him to take a redshirt.

The pass rusher returned in 2013 to a backup role behind future second-round NFL draft pick Mario Edwards Jr. He appeared in 13 games and recorded 25 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks. Florida State won the National Championship in a thrilling 34-31 victory over Auburn, capping a perfect 14-0 season.

On the field, things were going well. Off the field, there were issues.

Casher and Winston were roommates and the young players had a reputation for trouble. The teammates had a pellet gun fight in an apartment building in 2012 and broke thirteen windows. The pair later paid for the property damage.

Winston was also accused of sexual assault by a Florida State student in December of that same year. Casher recorded a portion of the incident on his cell phone “as a joke,” believing it to be consensual. He later issued a public apology for his role in the incident, expressing deep regret for his actions.

Winston was never charged criminally for the incident, which culminated in a settlement in December 2016.

Casher’s redshirt sophomore (2014) and junior (2015) seasons at Florida State didn’t live up to expectations. Fighting injuries, he made just two starts in 21 games, recording 36 tackles, four tackles for loss, and one sack. He left the program in 2016, which AL.com reported was for academic reasons.

The six-foot-four, 265-pound pass rusher transferred to Faulkner for his final NCAA season where he flourished, recording 60 tackles and 8.5 sacks in ten games. He went unselected in the 2017 NFL draft, but soon got signed by one of his old coaches.

Florida State’s defensive ends coach from 2013-2014, Sal Sunseri, had become the linebackers coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2015 and the connection led to Casher signing with the team. If Sunseri’s name sounds familiar to CFL fans, that’s because he is the father of former Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Tino Sunseri.

Casher was cut by the Raiders in August 2017 and got a look from the New York Giants before signing a contract with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in October. He spent a week on the team’s practice roster before being sent home with an invitation to training camp in 2018.

He didn’t survive final cuts with the Bombers the following year, but did enough to join the practice roster in Calgary close to the midway point of the season. From there, Casher earned a starting role with the Stampeders in 2019, recording 34 tackles, seven sacks and one forced fumble in a breakout year.

It took longer than anticipated, but Casher appears ready to finally realize his true potential. The 26-year-old is one of the CFL’s best young pass rushers and was recognized as such when the B.C. Lions signed him to a one-year contract worth $145,000 in February.

Though he may choose to re-sign with B.C., Casher is currently slated to become a free agent in February 2021.

3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.

100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.