Jon Ryan’s nightmare: Riders sign Global punter, Ray Guy finalist James Smith

Courtesy: AP Photo/Rusty Costanza

Don’t tell Jon Ryan but the Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed another Global punter, James Smith, off the team’s negotiation list 

The six-foot-five, 235-pound Australian was signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted NFL free agent in 2021 and tried out for the Baltimore Ravens in October.  

Smith played 49 games over four NCAA seasons (2017-2020) at the University of Cincinnati, becoming UC’s all-time leading punter and a four-time all-conference player.

Smith joined the Bearcats as a true freshman and made his mark immediately after he kicked 64 times for a 42.0-yard per kick average and a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection.

He went on to make a total 235 career punts for 10,245 yards and just three touchbacks with a 43.6-yard average (second all time at UC.) Over his career he made 91 punts inside the 20 and 43 kicks over 50 yards.   

The 27-year-old collected many collegiate career accolades culminating in an invitation to the 2021 NFL Combine and the 2021 Senior Bowl. He was also a Ray Guy Award Finalist (awarded to the nation’s best punter) in 2018.