B.C. Lions re-sign quartet of Americans, add eight new players for 2023

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

The B.C. Lions got busy on Thursday, re-signing four American players who finished the 2022 season on the practice roster and inking eight new prospects for next season.

Among those returning to the den are defensive backs Quincy Mauger and Tyneil Cooper, running back Bruce Anderson III, and receiver Jamarius Way.

Mauger won the Lions’ starting safety job out of training camp and went on to play eight games, recording 19 defensive tackles and a sack. The 27-year-old was a standout at the University of Georgia from 2013-16 and had stints with the Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Legends of the defunct AAF before coming to Canada.

Cooper also won himself a job in Week 1 with an outstanding preseason but would go on to spend the majority of his first season with B.C. on the practice squad. He appeared in three regular season contests and notched ten defensive tackles.  Prior to his time with the Lions, the Dixie State product spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, recording 13 defensive tackles in five contests in 2018.

Anderson III played in six games with the Lions in 2022, making one start against Calgary in Week 10. He rushed for 67 yards on 19 carries this season while hauling in eight receptions for 60 yards. The North Dakota State product previously spent time with the Edmonton Elks, notching 170 yards on seven punt returns during three games played in 2021.

Way hauled in seven receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns in a pair of pre-season contests but was released by the team after injuring his elbow. He was re-signed to the team’s practice roster in mid-August but did not dress for a game. Way previously spent 2019 in training camp with the Denver Broncos.

Joining the club’s roster in 2023 will be eight new signees, most notably Canadian defensive lineman Nate Anderson. Also putting pen to paper were American running back Nate Chavious, defensive linemen Josiah Erickson, Isaiah Gay, Alex Tchangham, and Kameron Toomer, offensive linemen JR Hensley, and quarterback Breylin Smith.

A second-round pick of the Montreal Alouettes in the 2019 CFL Draft, Anderson would play eight games that season while recording three special teams tackles and one defensive stop. The six-foot-four, 250-pound defender signed with the Edmonton Elks last season but did not see any action. He played two seasons at Missouri, making 32 combined tackles and a pair of sacks in 24 appearances.

Chavious played 37 games for Sacred Heart University, amassing 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns on 349 total carries while adding 32 receptions for 332 yards and a pair of majors. He last suited up with the Indoor Football League’s Sioux City Storm, rushing for 684 yards and 18 touchdowns on 158 total carries. He added 19 receptions for 131 yards and a pair of majors while returning 51 kickoffs for 951 yards and two touchdowns.

Erickson joins the Lions after an outstanding career with Sacramento State. In 39 games with the Hornets from 2016 to 2021, the six-foot-two, 225-pound pass rusher racked up 123 combined tackles, 34.5 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks and three forced fumbles.

Gay comes to B.C. following a brief stint with the Montreal Alouettes, dressing for their Week 9 loss to Winnipeg. The six-foot-three, 245-pound edge registered 134 combined tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and eight pass knockdowns in 51 games over five seasons at Illinois.

Tchangham most recently spent time with the Seattle Seahawks but was waived following training camp this year. The native of Cameroon began playing football at De Anza Junior College before transferring to Colorado, where he recorded 23 solo tackles and four sacks in 21 games.

Toomer spent five seasons at the University of Nevada and played 41 games for the Wolfpack. He notched 73 combined tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks during his time in Reno.

Hensley started 32 of his 42 appearances along the offensive line for Hawaii from 2016 to 2019. The six-foot-five, 320-pound lineman played for the Spokane Shock of Arena Football 2 in 2021.

Smith finished the 2022 season on the practice roster of the Ottawa Redblacks. The six-foot-three, 210-pound pivot attended Central Arkansas from 2017 to 2021 and completed 790 passes for 1,260 yards and 84 touchdowns in 37 games.