According to the CFL Transactions list, the Tiger-Cats have added two American skill players, Shabari Davis Jr. and Devon Williams. Both players are casualties of the XFL-USFL merger, leaving many former spring football league players looking for new opportunities. Several sources have stated that many of the players on teams selected to play in the UFL are looking north to the CFL.
Shabari Davis Jr. and Devon Williams are coming to Hamilton with NFL experience, and their most recent playing experience is in the XFL and USFL, respectively. Both players played for teams that did not survive the XFL-USFL merger to form the UFL, and afterward, UFL teams did not select them during the first UFL dispersal draft. The exclusion of high-quality players from the UFL benefits teams in the CFL, like the Tiger-Cats, by adding depth to the pool of total free agents to evaluate and sign to their roster. It will be interesting to see how many more players the Tiger-Cats sign are now available due to the changes in the format of American spring football.
Let’s examine what the newly signed American skills players bring to the Tiger-Cats roster.
Shabari Davis Jr. is a 6’0″, 193-pound native of Garden City, Georgia. The 26-year-old defensive back signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2022. In 2023, Davis Jr. played for the Seattle Sea Dragons in the XFL after being selected in the 2022 XFL draft.
Davis Jr. played five seasons of college football at Southeast Missouri State. While playing at Southeast Missouri State, Davis Jr. recorded 98 tackles, three tackles for loss, eight interceptions, forced one fumble, and broke up 33 passes. He also has experience as a punt and kick returner. Davis Jr. had the rare achievement of being the only player in Southeast Missouri State history to return a kickoff, punt, and interception for a touchdown.
Devon Williams is a 23-year-old American wide receiver from Lancaster, California. The 6’5″, 207-pound wide receiver signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2022 as an undrafted free agent. In 2023, Williams was on the roster of the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL, another team that did not survive the XFL-USFL merger.
Williams started his college football career at the University of Southern California and finished at the University of Oregon. He played at USC from 2018 until 2019 and had five receptions, including a touchdown reception. After transferring to Oregon for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, he caught 50 passes for 848 yards and scored six touchdowns.
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