Tiger-Cats’ Duke Williams: ‘great feeling’ to be playing with Bo Levi Mitchell

Photo courtesy: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Duke Williams feels like a “kid on Christmas” in training camp with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and one of the main reasons why is playing alongside future Hall of Fame quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell.

“It’s a great feeling. I hit up Bo last year and I told him wherever he was going, that’s where I was going. We’re here together and we’re just here to work and compete and do what we’re supposed to do. At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to bring a Grey Cup to Hamilton,” Williams told the media in Hamilton.

“Bo’s a great leader in the room. When we’re in meetings, he tells us how he wants it and where we’re supposed to be and that’s big for me. He’s a great quarterback and I’m excited to see what we’re going to do this year.”

The veteran receiver underwent ankle surgery following the 2022 season during which he dressed for only eight games as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The former CFL all-star made 29 catches for 480 yards and four touchdowns, finishing the year as the team’s third-leading target.

Williams only recently returned to the field post-procedure but remained productive by helping mentor his new team’s young group of pass catchers.

“It was a long recovery for my ankle surgery but big shoutout to the trainers and my physical therapist at home,” he said. “It was a big blessing to just be out there with these guys. Before I was out there, I was making sure that the young guys stay on top of what they need to stay on top of. We’ve gotta count on those guys as well, so I’ve just gotta continue to be a big brother to them, continue to make sure they’re at where they’re supposed to be, and lead our group as I should.”

Tim White had a breakout season in Hamilton last year, making 94 receptions for 1,265 yards and eight touchdowns in his second CFL season. Williams is excited to play alongside the 28-year-old and should help create space for White on his underneath routes by stretching the field.

“Tim’s a smart, smooth guy and being alongside him, there’s a big difference from watching him on TV. Now I really get to see what everybody else doesn’t see and that’s his work ethic every day,” Williams said. “I could learn from him as well, so I’m excited to play with him this year. He had a great season last year, so I’m expecting nothing less. I’m just here to add to that and we’ll dominate together.”

One player that has caught Williams’ attention is Justin McGriff, a rookie out of Utah State University who measures in at six-foot-six and 215 pounds. He caught 30 passes for 438 yards and four touchdowns for the Aggies last season and should pose a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs.

“I’m proud of him. I’ve been watching him since rookie minicamp and I’ve been in his ear a lot. He’s long, he’s fast, physical, and he makes plays on the ball and that’s what it’s about,” Williams said. “I’m proud of him and I’m proud to see what he’s going to do during the preseason.”

The Ticats will open their preseason on Saturday, May 27 against the Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field with kickoff slated for 4:00 p.m. EDT. According to DraftKings, Hamilton has +550 odds to win the 2023 Grey Cup.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.