Jeremiah Masoli believes backup Caleb Evans ‘could be the future’ for the Redblacks

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

After the last few years, you might expect Jeremiah Masoli to be a little wary of backup quarterbacks with the last name Evans.

The Ottawa Redblacks’ new face of the franchise finds himself in the nation’s capital after a 2021 season spent riding a QB carousel in Hamilton, eventually losing his spot to Dane Evans.

Evans first saw the field in 2019 after Masoli suffered a torn ACL, leading the team to a Grey Cup appearance. Masoli would win back his job in training camp, but the two flipped back and forth due to injury throughout the season and into the playoffs.

Evans replaced Masoli mid-way through the East Final and drew his second Grey Cup start, only for the veteran to come off the bench in a desperate attempt to win the title game. It was a valiant performance, but not enough for the Ticats to keep Masoli around.

That experience, coupled with the fact that Masoli replaced his predecessor Zach Collaros in much the same way, would be enough to make anyone suspicious of the guy behind them on the depth chart. It hasn’t had that effect on Masoli.

Often praised for his positive relationship with Dane Evans last year, the 33-year-old is already cultivating a similar dynamic with Redblacks’ 2021 starter Caleb Evans and believes there are big things in store for his new backup.

“Caleb Evans has been awesome. He’s been my biggest help so far, for sure. Just being able to ask him a bunch of questions on the side, all the small little things, he’s been awesome and I really appreciate him,” Masoli told TSN 1200’s The Drive this week.

“He’s a heck of a talent, a heck of a person and I definitely want to help him further his career. I think he has a huge upside, he’s a talented kid, and he could be the future if he wants to be.”

Still only 23, Evans was thrust into action in eight games as a rookie last year. He finished the season 108-of-182 passing for 1,279 yards, five touchdowns and nine interceptions while adding 42 carries for 345 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

A bright spot on an abysmal Redblacks offence, some feel that Evans has the potential to become a viable starting quarterback down the line. He’ll sit behind the team’s prized free agent acquisition until he’s ready to make that jump, but Masoli isn’t concerned about feeling breath on the back of his neck.

“It’s just like anywhere else with work, you’ve got some coworkers that are ‘ugh’ and then some that are your favourite, great guys. He’s one of them,” Masoli explained.

“Our whole QB room actually, we’re really doing a good job of getting along and working off of each other. Stuff that they’ve done in the past, stuff I’ve done in the past, it’s been a great synergy and mix in there.”

Of course, there is more than simply friendship and altruism at play here. A veteran like Masoli knows that to win in the CFL, the Redblacks will likely need contributions from multiple quarterbacks.

It was his partnership with Dane Evans that got the Ticats to back-to-back Grey Cups, but they couldn’t get it done in the end. If the Redblacks need to employ a similar formula, Masoli hopes Caleb Evans can put them over the top.