Connect with us

CFL News

Redblacks Sign Several, Move DB Jacob Springer to Retired List 

The Ottawa Redblacks have already made some significant moves this off-season, whether it was the trade for Dru Brown, or the acquisition of Adarius Pickett, the return of Dominique Rhymes, or retaining Devonte Williams, they have stayed active leading up to free agency. 

Just before free agency officially opened on February 13th, the Redblacks made some last minute moves. Signing a total of seven players with two having been covered in another article. We are going to focus now on the five other names on that list, and discuss a player that has retired. 

RB Kylin Hill

OL Austin Myers

OL Phillip Norman 

LB Silas Stewart 

DB Abu Daramy-Swaray 

DB Dj Stirgus

DB Elijah Jones 

DB Jacob Springer-Retired 

While none of these men are really household names for their time in the CFL yet, they are all talented high upside players. 

Jacob Springer Retires

Defensive back/linebacker Jacob Springer has decided to retire heading into the 2024 season. Beginning his college career at Navy, he spent three seasons playing there before he chose to transfer to Mississippi where he finished out his career. 

He played in a total of 38 games, with 22 starts. He amassed 163 tackles, 9 sacks, and 2 interceptions. He saw time at linebacker and defensive back. Springer was a solid fit for the CFL style of play as a do-it-all defender who could line up all over a CFL defense. He has opted to retire instead of continuing to pursue the CFL. This opened the door for Ottawa to bring in a couple more defensive backs. 

Defensive Backs In Bunches

The Redblacks have added a trio of defensive backs in an effort to supply themselves with ample options to compete during training camp. Adding Abu Daramy-Swaray from Colgate, Dj Stirgus from Missouri Western University, and Elijah Jones from Oregon State.  

Abu Daramy-Swaray

Daramy-Swaray has a story of perseverance everyone can enjoy. He was undrafted in 2019 and left to find his next opportunity which ended up being with the Potsdam Royals of the German Football League. He would find his way on an NFL roster with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022 after a solid college career at Colgate. Heading into 2023 he was signed by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He appeared in five games collecting 23 tackles, and 1 forced fumble. He was released and landed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders to close out the year. Now he lands with Ottawa looking to make an impact. 

When asked he had this to say “I’m excited to get started with the team who I believe is headed in the right direction.”

Dj Stirgus

Stirgus had a solid career in college playing in 42 games. Along the way he managed to disrupt 32 passes, make 81 tackles, including 4 for a loss, 1 sack, 1 blocked kick and 2 interceptions. After college he saw interest from the Washington Commanders of the NFL signing as an un-drafted free agent. A former high school receiver, Stirgus has a ton of upside on defense having truly only played it for about 6 years now. The 6’1 204 pound defensive back ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, with a 1.5 10-yard split, and 13 reps in the bench demonstrating prototypical speed and strength as a cornerback, or halfback in the CFL. 

Elijah Jones

Jones attended multiple different colleges originally beginning at a JUCO, Ellsworth Community College. He would transfer to Kansas spending three seasons there before finishing at Oregon State in 2021. He would play in just 17 games over his final four seasons of college. The 6’1 190 pound defender ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, 6.99 3-cone drill, a 37.5 inch vertical and 12 reps in the bench. This final transfer might have directly resulted in the Seattle Seahawks taking notice of what he is capable of as a UDFA in 2022. In 2023 he played for the Houston Gamblers and appeared in this highlight:

Silas Stewart, Linebacker

Hailing from Incarnate Word, Stewart is a 6’1 228 pound linebacker who is a fairly solid athlete. At his pro day he ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, put up 21 reps in the bench press, and a 36.5 inch vertical. After his college career he managed to sign as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. He played just 4 snaps in the 2019 preseason before being let go. He would sign with the Calgary Stampeders for 2021. He stuck with Calgary since then playing in 35 games, he collected 53 defensive and 29 special teams tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. 

Phillip Norman, Offensive Line

Phillip Norman is a 6’4 318 pound Bethune Cookman alum who graduated in 2017 and signed with the CFL in 2018. He was signed to the BC Lions practice roster where he spent the entire 2018 season, and 5 more games in the 2019 season before making his debut at center. He later played left tackle, and left guard for BC as well.

Truly capable of playing all five spots on the offensive line Norman is an incredibly valuable piece to add to our line for the 2024 season. It wouldn’t shock me to see him end up being the 6th lineman for 2024 being used as the first man up in the event of any injury. 

Austin Myers, Memphis 

Austin Myers attended both TCU, and Memphis for college. He broke his fibula missing all but 4 games in 2021 before returning for his final season in 2022. A seven year college career led him to graduate in 2023 after initially entering college in 2016. After a redshirt season he would go on to start in 33 games and playing in 47 games. The 6’5 306 pound lineman measured at a 81 3/4 inch wingspan. He only put up 19 reps in the bench but also isn’t the mobile prospect you want at tackle ideally. It’ll be interesting to see where he fits in. After spending some time with the Giants in rookie minicamp, Myers had recently signed with the Bay Area Panthers linking up with a coach he knows well in Dixie Wooten.

Kylin Hill, Running Back

Hill is a Mississippi State alum who attended from 2017-2020. In 2019 he was named a Second-Team All SEC in the coaches poll and won the Conerly Trophy after a career season. He had 260 touches for 1,530 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. This would be his best season after putting up 210 carries, for 1,636 yards and 11 touchdowns. Essentially doubling his career output in one year. Declaring for the draft following the 2020 season might have hurt his draft status as he could have returned for one more year and tried to repeat his 2019 season. Ultimately he was selected in round 7 by the Packers where he stuck for two years before being released. 

In 2023 he remained unsigned and I have to question if he was ready to entertain alternative options at this point. He went from not being mentioned in the alternative football space to signing with the Orlando Guardians in 2024, watching his team vanish. Now he signs with Ottawa. At 5’11 210 pounds he certainly runs with more power than Devonte Williams and could in theory fit into our short yardage role. He is also a capable receiver which only makes him more valuable as a depth piece for Ottawa behind oft-injured starter Devonte Williams. In my opinion of the three newcomers at running back, Hill might be the more likely player to make the roster, and make an immediate impact. 

Final Thoughts

The Redblacks general manager Shawn Burke came out and said his team was nearly done in free agency on the first day it officially opened. This came after big moves to bring in two former Argos, and Dru Brown who can bring with them a championship mindset in 2024. It also came before two underrated moves to bring in quality depth pieces that can make sure the Redblacks don’t experience a dramatic drop off when injuries do occur. Both of these players could end up starting or playing significant snaps in 2024. 

Subscribe to our CFL News Hub YouTube Channel. Get breaking news and the latest CFL news. Plus the CFL Week In Review Podcast.
author avatar
@SamShadySports Reporter
I began writing years ago out of an obsession with the NFL. I never intended to take it anywhere but after watching so many others succeed as freelance writers I decided it was worth a shot. I jumped I and have loved every minute of it. I have expanded my content to include YouTube, as well as Twitter Spaces, SoundCloud, and should be launching on Amazon Podcasts soon.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in CFL News

CFL News Hub