Receivers Derel Walker, Hergy Mayala to make Ticats debut vs. Lions

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

A pair of key late-season signees will be making their first appearance for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when they host the B.C. Lions on Friday.

Former all-star receiver Derel Walker is listed on the depth chart for the first time since joining the team on September 27 and is expected to see considerable action behind gadget receiver/returner Tyreik McAllister. The 32-year-old began this season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders but lasted just one game before hitting the injured list and was released upon his return.

The four-time divisional all-star started his CFL career with Edmonton in 2015 and won the Grey Cup mere days after being named the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie. He spent four seasons with the team before a one-year stint with the Toronto Argonauts during which he was the league’s highest-paid non-quarterback.

Over 92 career CFL games, Walker has made 474 receptions for 6,681 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Walker will replace rookie Omar Bayless (back), who will be unavailable after recording two touchdowns last week. In six games this season, the Arkansas State product has 15 catches for 192 yards.

Also stepping into the lineup is Canadian receiver Hergy Mayala, who was signed last week. The 27-year-old was released by the Montreal Alouettes on August 29. He made seven catches for 118 yards over 10 games this season, all of which he started.

Mayala played 18 games for the Alouettes in 2022, making 33 catches for 409 yards and two touchdowns. He became a free agent in February and elected to sign south of the border with the New Orleans Breakers, but was released prior to the start of the USFL season. He signed back with Montreal in May.

The six-foot-one, 208-pound target was originally selected in the first round of the 2019 CFL Draft by the Calgary Stampeders out of the University of Connecticut. He made 38 receptions for 562 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie before adding 26 catches for 255 yards and one touchdown in 2021.

Mayala is listed as a backup behind starter Chris Osei-Kusi. He will satisfy the team’s ratio requirements with running back Sean Thomas-Erlington (head) ruled out for the week.

The Ticats (8-8) will host the Lions (11-5) on Friday, October 13 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The two teams met previously in Week 12, with Hamilton pulling out a decisive 30-13 upset on the road.

Photo courtesy: Hamilton Tiger-Cats