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Tiger-Cats Add Seven More Players To Their Active Roster, Including Wide Receiver Jon’Vea Johnson and Veteran Offensive Lineman Chris Van Zeyl

To end the first week of May, the Tiger-Cats added seven additional players to their active roster. On offence, Hamilton has added former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson, wide receiver Justin McGriff, 2023 CFL Draft pick wide receiver Caleb Morin, and offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl. Defensively, the Tiger-Cats have added 2023 CFL Draft selection Robert Panabaker, linebacker Dyton Blackett, and 2023 CFL Draft pick defensive lineman Reece Martin.

American wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson is 6’0″, 192 pounds, and is from Gary, Indiana. Johnson played college football at the University of Toledo, and while playing in 53 games for the Rockets, he accumulated 125 receptions for 2,265 yards with an average of 18.1 yards/catch and 25 touchdowns. In 2019, the Dallas Cowboys signed Johnson as an undrafted free agent. He has spent time with the Dallas Cowboys (2019-2020), Jacksonville Jaguars (2021), Chicago Bear (2021), Montreal Alouettes (2022), and the Memphis Showboats (2023).

American wide receiver Justin McGriff is a 6’6″, 215-pound native of Tampa, Florida. McGriff started his collegiate football career at Nebraska in 2019 but transferred to Utah State University and played for the Aggies from 2020 until 2022. During the 2022 season, McGriff played in 12 games, produced 30 receptions for 438 yards for an average of 14.6 yards per catch, and scored four touchdowns.

The Tiger-Cats selected national wide receiver Caleb Morin in the 2023 CFL Draft in the 8th round and the 67th pick in the draft. Morin is a 6’3″, 190-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and played U Sports football for the Saskatchewan Huskies. During the 2022 season, he played in 12 games, accumulated 48 catches for 736 yards for an average of 15.3 yards per catch, and scored one touchdown.

The Tiger-Cats added National offensive lineman CFL veteran Chris Van Zeyl to the active roster after he had been listed on the 6-game injured list for the Tiger-Cats in September of the 2022 season. The 6’6″, 312-pound offensive tackle has been a fixture on the Tiger-Cats offensive line since the 2019 season. Van Zeyl had three CFL All-Star seasons in 2013, 2017, and 2019. Additionally, he was a CFL East All-Star in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021.

The Tiger-Cats selected national defensive back Robert Panabaker in Round 5 of the 2023 CFL Draft and was the 40th pick. Panabaker is a 6’0″, 190-pound native of London, Ontario, and he played U Sports football at Western University. During the 2022 season, he had 15 solo tackles, 23 assists, six interceptions, one interception return for a touchdown, 12 pass breakups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

National linebacker Dyton Blackett is a 6’4″, 227-pound native of Canning, Nova Scotia. Blackett played U Sports football at Saint Francis Xavier (2018 – 2022), and during his 22-game career, he accumulated 40 solo tackles, 18 assists, two interceptions, four sacks, and seven tackles for loss. In his senior year in 2022, he had 27 solo tackles, 11 assists, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and 2.5 sacks.

The Tiger-Cats selected defensive lineman Reece Martin in the 4th round of the 2023 CFL Draft with the 31st selection. Martin is a 6’5″, 285-pound native of Moncton, New Brunswick. He played U Sports football at Mount Allison; during the 2022 season, he had 15 solo tackles, 11 assists, five sacks, and one fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown.

National linebacker Grant McDonald has also decided to retire from the CFL. McDonald started his CFL career with Edmonton in 2021 after being traded to Hamilton along with Kyle Saxelid and a 2nd-round pick in the 2022 CFL Global Draft. While playing for the Elks, he played in 14 games and had 16 special teams tackles, and in 2022 he played in 18 games for Hamilton and had eight tackles on special teams for Hamilton.

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Aaron Sauter Reporter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.
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