Over just the last few days, the CFL has had several different transactions. All nine teams in the league have been busy giving players great news right in time for the Holidays. Among the teams making transactions is, you guessed it the Ottawa Redblacks.
Just because Covid-19 has shut a lot of things down this year and there hasn’t been any big CFL news for the most of the 2020 calendar year it doesn’t mean nothing has happened, in fact a lot has happened, and a lot is happening. Front offices have been busy planning for this moment, the time just before the February Free Agency period and this, outside of the season might just be the most important time of the year. Last year around this time the Redblacks started the rebuild. Going out and getting new faces on the staff with key coaches like Paul LaPolice and Mike Benevides and even getting a new franchise quarterback in Nick Arbuckle but what are we doing this year? The team has the third most free agents in the league going into the FA Period with 47 players and as sports fans we all know that free agency can make or break a season, and the way its looking it will make the 2021 CFL season for the Redblacks.
To start off, the Redblacks have been able to bring back some of the key players on the list with Canadian studs like Justin Howell, Kene Onyeka, Anthony Gosselin and Marco Dubois. Though these may not be CFL all-stars, these are some good signs that we are starting to bring back familiar faces as well as bring in depth for some big signings that may be on the horizon.
Some big signings that we could see in the future and that we hope to see in the future would include, bringing back key players like Sherrod Baltimore, Avery Williams, RJ Harris, Mark Korte, Danny Mason, Jerod Fernandez, Corey Tindal, Avery Ellis, Gump Hayes, Brandin Dandridge Jalen Saunders, DeAndre Farris, Kevin Brown, Evan Johnson, Anthony Coombs and new comer Christophe Mulamba. These players have all either been in the CFL or on the Ottawa Redblacks before and are already proven to be great athletes in the league, so without a doubt these guys would be great to bring in, though by the looks of it some of them may not.
The Ottawa Redblacks have been spending a lot of time recently in the scouting department, aiming to get themselves some of the best young stars and that is exactly what they’ve been doing to launch this off-season period. To start, along with the re-signings they’ve done with players like Justin Howell and Rafael Araujo Lopes, the Redblacks signed a good group of un-restricted free agents as well.
Over the last week or so, the team announced the signings of, Canadian offensive linemen Benjamin Petrie (Guelph) and Graydon Campbell (William & Mary), American linebackers Jawuan Johnson (TCU) and Dimitri Holloway (JMU), defensive backs Johnathan Alston (NC State) and Marcus Lewis of Maryland as well as some skill position players in quarterback Caleb Evans of Louisiana at Monroe, former NFL running back Detrez Newsome and Syracuse stand out receiver Amba Etta-Tawo. The players signed all represent great young athletes, and some could become studs in the CFL, at least they all hope so, “I’m super excited for this opportunity. For this to happen is a year full of negativity is amazing and I’m extremely grateful for it. I just can’t wait to show what I’ve got.” says new comer Marcus Lewis.
Lewis, a newly signed defensive back for the Ottawa Redblacks has a chance to make a splash in the CFL, like he did at the division one level with both Florida State University and Maryland. At the two schools he was fortunate enough to play with some of the best defensive backs in the recent history, putting together a great resume doing so. For the two seasons he played at FSU Lewis was able to play in 12 games, having 21 total tackles, 2 pass breakups, one tackle for loss and he was also the only one on the 2016 Seminole team with one interception and one fumble recovery, “Having the opportunity to play at Florida State, where I suited up with guys like Jalen Ramsey and Derwin James it was awesome. I really got to see what top players looked like and it was good to learn from it as well.”
Learning from his time at Florida State, Lewis later transferred to his hometown Maryland Terrapins where he went on to play 2 seasons after his 2017 redshirt season. In the two years on the field at Maryland he was able to put up similar numbers to what he’d done in the ACC with Florida State, having 44 total tackles in 16 games as well as 6 pass breakups, 2 interceptions and another forced fumble making his division one totals, 22 games, 65 tackles, 8 pass deflections, 1 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. He was a good defensive back for sure in university and seeing what good university players do in the CFL should make Redblacks’ fans just as excited as Lewis, “I’m just excited to show them what I can do. The Redblacks’ are getting a great player, a great person and a great teammate for this 2021 CFL season, I’m looking to prove myself and I want to prove myself as one of the best.”
As we continue to learn about players like Marcus Lewis, who are being signed by the Ottawa Redblacks, or even being re-signed by the Redblacks, we are also getting closer to a 2021 CFL season which we all are praying for. To stay up to date in CFL news and all of your Redblacks’ updates stay tuned for more on Jordan Zlomislic’s Lil