June 23, 2016
If you are missing football and wishing for NFL training camps to open, there is something you can do for your football fix. The Canadian Football League will be on ESPN networks the next three nights.
Two of those three games feature players with ties to Mississippi.
Tonight, June 23, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN News, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats hit the road to take on the Toronto Argonauts. The Tiger-Cats have former University of Mississippi player Jeremiah Masoli as their starting quarterback. This is also the opening of the 2016 Canadian Football League season.
The Montreal Alouettes take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Friday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2, but neither team features a player from Mississippi. The Blue Bombers have held a tryout in Jackson the last two years, though.
On Saturday night, the British Columbia Lions host the Calgary Stampeders at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. The Lions have former Alcorn State University wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux, and the Stampeders have former University of Southern Mississippi running back Tory Harrison.
Those aren’t the only players with Mississippi ties on CFL rosters.
The Tiger-Cats have former University of Mississippi defensive tackle Ted Laurent. Currently, Laurent is on the British Columbia one-game injury list. He is a national player since he was born in Montreal, Quebec. Players born outside of Canada are listed as international players.
Former Jackson State University defensive back Marcell Young is an Edmonton Eskimos defensive player. He also played at Hinds Community College before heading to JSU to finish his college career.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders signed former Mississippi State University defensive back Justin Cox this spring. He not only played at MSU but also at East Mississippi Community College.
Joining Cox on the Roughriders is former Pearl River Community College defensive back Johnnie Dixon. He also signed with Saskatchewan with spring.
The CFL offers a chance for players who don’t latch on with an NFL team to continue their football careers. Some players head north if they don’t sign an undrafted free agent contract with an NFL team.
However, playing in the CFL doesn’t mean an athlete won’t get a shot at the NFL. There have been several players who have made an impact on the league who NFL teams signed out of the CFL.
It would seem unlikely that any of the players on this list will sign with the NFL. Most are in their late 20s, except for former MSU player Cox who is 23 years old, and the NFL has trended in the direction of younger players in recent years.