3DownNation top 100 CFL players: No. 61 LB Jameer Thurman, Free Agent

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the NFL’s inability to recognize talent.

Jameer Thurman remains one of the best players in the history of Indiana State University football. Recruited as a 215-pound safety, Thurman bulked up to play linebacker where he put up some very impressive statistics over four seasons.

The native of Bellwood, Ill. recorded 340 total tackles with the Sycamores along with 28 tackles for loss, 14 knockdowns, seven sacks, five interceptions, seven forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries.

Indiana State isn’t known for producing professional football players, which is partly why Thurman had trouble garnering NFL interest. The last time the school had a player selected in the NFL draft was 1996 when linebacker Dan Brandenburg was selected in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills.

Thurman participated in Northwestern’s pro day and posted very good numbers, including a 4.59 forty-yard dash, 38-inch vertical jump, and 26 reps on the bench press. Shockingly, he was still passed over by the NFL.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Thurman came straight north after going unselected in the 2017 NFL draft, signing with the Calgary Stampeders in May. He made the team out of training camp and appeared in all 18 regular season games, making 65 total tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one sack.

Thurman made an even bigger impact in his second season, recording 98 total tackles, two sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble. The Stamps appeared in the Grey Cup in 2017 and 2018, winning the second one, with Thurman making ten total tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble between the two contests.

Thurman signed with the Chicago Bears in January 2019 and was one of many players with CFL ties who took part in training camp. James Vaughters — who played alongside Thurman in Calgary — was on the team, as were U Sports products Mathieu Betts (Laval) and Akiem Hicks (Regina). Defensive back Jonathon Mincy was also on the roster after two standout years in Montreal, as was Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert.

Thurman made 16 tackles with the Bears during the pre-season but was still waived as part of final roster cuts at the end of August. He joined the XFL’s DC Defenders and was one of the league’s top defensive players prior to the league’s suspension, recording 28 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble in five games.

Photo courtesy: XFL

Thurman remains a free agent but shouldn’t be one for long when the XFL and/or CFL resume play. He’s the complete linebacker — fast, smart, physical, and talented — who can help any defence take the next step.

3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players, a project that will run through December 31, 2020. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.

62. QB Matt Nichols, Toronto Argonauts
63. DB Jamar Wall, Calgary Stampeders
64. DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Saskatchewan Roughriders
65. REC Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions
66. OL Brendon LaBatte, Saskatchewan Roughriders
67. OL SirVincent Rogers, Ottawa Redblacks
68. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Free Agent
69. DB/RET Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
70. DB T.J. Lee, B.C. Lions
71. QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
72. SAM Anthony Cioffi, Free Agent
73. DB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts
74. REC Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders
75. OL Darius Ciraco, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
76. REC Jalen Saunders, Free Agent
77. QB Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
78. REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks
79. RET Janarion Grant, Free Agent
80. DE Avery Ellis, Ottawa Redblacks
81. DE Cordarro Law, Calgary Stampeders
82. DB Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DE John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.