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Redblacks Bring Back Familiar Faces to Compete in 2024

Redblacks sign six defensive players, all of which have been with Ottawa before.

The Redblacks have signed six defensive players only a day after signing four on offense. The players in these defensive moves are men whose names have crossed the Redblacks transaction wire in the past. 

-Tareke Lewis first signed in March of 2023

-Divine Obichere first signed May of 2023

-Sherrod Greene, Tyler Wiltz, Vandarius Cowan, and Skyler Thomas were all signed in September as practice squad expansion occurred. 

Many of these players were just beginning to make an impression when they were released and left to look for other options. One interesting case is Tareke Lewis. Lewis once played in The Spring League before sitting out the 2022 season. In 2023 he spent time on an XFL, CFL, and IFL roster trying to keep his career alive. 

Tareke Lewis, CB 

Tareke is a product of the JUCO system playing two years at Riverside CC before transferring to Utah. In 19 games at Riverside he collected 46 tackles, and 5 interceptions for 129 return yards. He also returned kicks as a freshman with 16 returns for 399 yards including a 99 yard touchdown return. He also added one 11 yard punt return. 

While with Utah he added 32 tackles, 9 Deflections and 1 interception. He didn’t see any time as a return man. Being allowed to focus strictly on defense, he flourished into a solid player for Utah in his two seasons with the Utes. In 2019 he did his best work playing in all 14 games, starting 5. During this season he logged his only interception as a Ute, and had a total of 9 passes defended. 

Tareke would fall un-drafted in 2020 due partially to the fact that he wasn’t allowed to display what he could do at a pro-day. Despite Utes being sprinkled throughout the 2020 NFL rookie class, Tareke Lewis wasn’t able to make a roster. This left him seeking alternative options to prove himself in 2021 with The Spring League. 

He would play for the Generals as a defensive back, and punt returner under a staff that later made up the Philadelphia Stars staff. Oddly enough, Tareke didn’t see interest from his former coaches who left him in the cold in 2022. 2023 would give him another chance, but it would amount to suiting up in just two games for the San Diego Strike Force of the IFL. Lewis will presumably get at least one more offseason to stick with Ottawa before the team moves on. 

Divine Obichere, DL

Signed in May to compete with several other players for reps in the defensive line rotation, the 6’3 277 pound tackle didn’t make the roster, but made enough of an impression to return for a second chance. Obichere is another JUCO product having attended Long Beach CC to begin college. 

He was dominant at this level, and produced 92 tackles, 21 for a loss, and 10 sacks. He would find his next home at Boise State. Playing in 7 games his first season he had 18 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, and 2 sacks. Over his next 21 games for the school he managed 43 tackles, 8 for a loss and 3 sacks. He graduated with 153 tackles, 33.5 tackles for a loss, and 15 sacks as an interior defensive lineman. 

At his pro-day he helped his cause by putting up solid if not spectacular numbers with a 4.90 40-yard dash, a 1.71 10-yard split, and had 18 reps in the bench. He also has an 80 inch wing span, and 9 1/4 inch hands all of which you can see on film when he has his way with opposing offensive linemen often tossing them out of the way. 

“Obi” as he often goes by was on Chad Reuter’s list of the top UDFA’s in 2023, but never saw any interest in the NFL, oddly enough. He would find his first opportunity with the CFL, but ultimately end up released in final cuts. He returns in 2024, and should be a name to watch in that interior rotation. 

All four practice squad expansion players return for the 2024 offseason to attempt to make the Redblacks roster. Check out the article below for more details on all four players. 

No Lack of Depth 

Ultimately I expect Divine Obichere, Sherrod Greene, and Skyler Thomas to have a good chance of making it onto the practice squad or active roster in 2024. I expect Tareke Lewis to make it to final cuts once again, before we see him turn up again in arena football. 

Tyler Wiltz, and Vandarius Cowan I have my doubts about making the roster. Granted things can change quick at the CFL level. 

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Sam Just Reporter
I am a writer and content creator focusing on alternative football leagues like the UFL, CFL, AFL, IFL, NAL, and AIF. If you like alternative football leagues, check out my personal platform Shady Sports Network on YouTube and all your favorite social media platforms.
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