The Ottawa Redblacks needed to get under the 75 man roster limit for CFL preseason, in order to make this work they got a little creative. Including shuffling two players to the injured list, releasing nine and signing one more. Ottawa is leaving no stone unturned in search of the right players.
Second round pick Edris Jean-Alphonse was selected in the 2022 Global Draft, after a solid performance in the combine. With his elite athleticism, and size at 6’1 211 pounds. He spent most of last season on the practice roster but saw action in four games. Even after the draft I expected him to have a great chance at making the active roster out of camp. It will be interesting to see if he gets signed by another team. Given that he played U Sports prior to joining Ottawa he has a foundation to build on in the CFL should a team sign him to their practice roster.
Less Surprising Cuts
Among the less surprising cuts were offensive lineman Frank Ball and wide receiver Jojo Ward. Ward was signed on April 27th, he was given 17 days to prove he belonged on the roster. Frank Ball was signed on May 1st, and released just over two weeks later. The fortunate thing for him is that he was released with USFL season still going on. There is a chance we see him resurface there. Ward also has USFL ties from his stay with the Gamblers last season but the staff is all new.
These are just two more examples of players with more options than ever to continue their football career. Ball spent time in the XFL before being let go, and landing in the CFL. Ward was let go by the USFL, on April 4th of 2023, signing with Ottawa just 3 weeks later.
Skyler Thomas was moved to the suspended list, freeing up a roster spot that was immediately filled by defensive lineman Divine Obichere. Listed at 277 pounds, Obichere is a rookie who made the trip to Ottawa from Boise State. In his last 28 games collegiately at Boise he managed to rack up 12.5 tackles for a loss, including 5 sacks, he also deflected 2 passes. During his first two seasons of college he played for Long Beach City College. He dominated at this level producing 10 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss.
Two Players to Injured List
Bralon Addison and Dan Basambombo, were both moved to the injured list. Addison is still recovering from an injury he suffered last season with Hamilton. It’s in Ottawa’s best interest to let him take all the time he needs. Addison when 100% is arguably one of the best receivers in the Eastern division.
Basambombo was a valuable special teams player, he will be missed on kick and punt coverage units until he is able to return. Drafted in 2020 out of Laval it looked like he could see more time on defense in 2023.
Remaining Players Released
Des Holmes OL
Charlie Brewer QB
Komotay Koffie DB
Talolo Limu-Jones WR
Charles Williams RB
Charlie Brewer was facing an uphill battle from day one. With Jeremiah Masoli as QB1, Nick Arbuckle as QB2, and Tyrie Adams as QB3. All three of these guys played significant time last season. Even Adams who began the year as a practice roster player wound up getting some snaps, and playing well. Brewer could easily make his way back should an injury occur.
Des Holmes was another American born rookie who originally attended Penn State before finishing college as a graduate student with Arizona State University in 2022. Holmes suffered an injury in 2022 missing some games. This didn’t help his case for making it to the NFL. Nor did his extended stay in college to begin with. Holmes is another guy I could see landing in the USFL or XFL with the constant shortage of offensive linemen.
Komotay Koffie was one of the few defensive players let go during this wave of cuts. Koffie went unselected during the 2022 NFL draft process after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado, playing under a legend for the Broncos Ed McCaffery. Koffie, a Liberian native escaped the war in his home country but he hasn’t escaped the fight for relevancy on the football world. Koffie has spent time with the Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs, but ultimately wound up briefly signing with the defending champion NAZ Wranglers of the IFL earlier this year. He landed with Ottawa just 9 days before his release. I expect he has a soft landing with the IFL waiting for him at a minimum but this is a guy the USFL or XFL might see value in as well.
Talolo Limu-Jones is a 6’4 220 pound wideout originally hailing from Eastern Michigan. After graduating and declaring for the 2021 NFL draft he went Unselected, but had a cup of coffee with the Carolina Panthers. He signed with the USFL’s Memphis Showboats early in 2023 before being traded to the Michigan Panthers, and being released in final cuts. He was signed just 9 days ago along with Koffie. I would watch for him to resurface in the USFL sooner rather than later as an injury replacement or perhaps a candidate to move to tight end. He played his collegiate ball with Eric Barriere of the Panthers.
Charles Williams Is the all time leading rusher for the University of Las Vegas Nevada. Having spent six seasons at the school due to a redshirt season and COVID 19 eligibility he left with 800 carries for 4,201 yards and 34 touchdowns. He added 39 receptions for 310 yards. As a freshman he also acted as the primary kick returner, and played on punts as well. Returning 24 kicks for 422 yards. Williams signed with Ottawa in March but didn’t make an impression immediately. I look for him to exhaust his options in the USFL and XFL but he strikes me as a potential IFL player looking to bounce back to the CFL. His game would fit indoors perfectly.
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