B.C. Lions sign Canadian cornerback Patrice Rene, four others

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The B.C. Lions have signed injury-plagued Canadian defensive back Patrice Rene ahead of the 2023 CFL season

The six-foot-two, 206-pound cornerback was a highly-touted prospect when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers selected him with the 21st overall pick in the third round of the 2021 CFL Draft. However, he played just one game as a rookie in 2022 and was later released by the team, continuing an unfortunate trend of major injuries that have plagued the Ottawa native since college.

Regarded as the top Canadian recruit in the 2016 class, Rene committed to the University of North Carolina and made an instant impact for the Tar Heels, playing 44 games over five seasons. He made 103 total tackles, defended 14 passes, recorded four tackles for loss, two interceptions, and forced one fumble during his time in Chapel Hill, but never fully bounced back from a torn ACL suffered in 2019.

The 25-year-old was in and out of the lineup throughout the 2020 season and opted to return to school following his CFL Draft year, transferring to Rutgers. He played just five games in 2021, recording eight tackles.

The Lions have also signed four Americans for training camp, including quarterback Judd Erickson, receiver Bryson Daughtry, offensive lineman Sidney Wells, and linebacker Henry Yianakopolos.

Erickson was signed after attending the team’s free agent camp in Seattle last weekend. The six-foot-four, 225-pound pivot played 11 games over two seasons at the University of San Diego, completing 136-of-254 passes for 1,749 yards and 14 touchdowns against ten interceptions. He transferred from Colorado State, where he made his collegiate debut in 2019.

Daughtry played five seasons at Elon University, suiting up in 49 career games. The six-foot-one, 197-pound target finished his career with 132 receptions for 1,944 yards and 13 touchdowns and was a third-team all-conference selection in 2022.

Wells spent four seasons at the University of Alabama-Birmingham after transferring from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The six-foot-four, 330-pound blocker started 36 games at right tackle and was twice named first-team All-Conference USA, helping the offence average 235.5 yards rushing per game in 2022.

Yianakopolos played 38 games over six seasons at the University of Rhode Island, recording 117 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and 14 pass knockdowns. The six-foot-one, 225-pound backer was a team captain in 2022 after beginning his career as a walk-on.