The Edmonton Elks have officially named Taylor Cornelius as their starting quarterback for the team’s Week 6 game against the Montreal Alouettes.
Head coach Chris Jones made the announcement following practice on Sunday according to multiple media outlets, meaning Cornelius will become the third different Elks’ quarterback to start a game this season and the fourth to see the field.
After an open competition in training camp, once-promising Stampeders’ backup Nick Arbuckle won the starting job in training camp but was replaced in Week 4 by rookie Canadian Tre Ford, who led the Elks to their first victory.
Ford again drew the start in Week 5 but injured his collarbone on the team’s second series and is expected to be out long term. Arbuckle came off the bench in relief but was ultimately pulled in favour of third-stringer Kai Locksley, who is currently serving as one of the team’s starting receivers. Arbuckle later returned to finish the game after a minor injury to Locksley.
In five games this season, Arbuckle is 74-of-115 passing for 892 yards, two touchdowns and eight interceptions. He will once again be relegated to a backup role as the team turns to Cornelius, who has spent the start of the year stashed on the one-game injured list.
A favourite of former head coach Jaime Elizondo after the pair spent time together in the XFL, Cornelius started eight games for the struggling Elks during his first CFL season in 2021. He finished 143-of-247 passing for 1,795 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing 21 times for 149 yards and one major.
Prior to arriving in Canada, Cornelius started four games in the defunct XFL and completed 63 percent of his passes for 858 yards, four touchdowns, and six interceptions while rushing 17 times for 114 yards and three scores. The six-foot-five, 232-pound passer went unselected in the 2019 NFL Draft, though he spent training camp with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent.
Cornelius spent four seasons at Oklahoma State University, becoming a starter in his senior season. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions that year while handing off the ball to sensational Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard.