The Ticats announced the signing of four guys today: wide receiver Junior (Jasper) Collins, international free agent defensive back Ellis Lankster, running back Ronnie Wingo, as well as national linebacker Preston Huggins. All four have some familiarity with Hamilton.
Collins made five starts last season with 10 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown as well as returning one punt for 11 yards. He’s a team-first guy that the Ticats have liked for some time but he hasn’t been able to break through quite yet – and he’ll soon be 29 so if “the leap” is coming, it better come soon. That said, Collins knows the system and can return kicks in a pinch so that should give him an advantage heading into training camp.
Lankster is a guy who has bounced around the NFL, playing 49 games with Buffalo and the Jets and was with the Ticats briefly in 2010 – he played in one game – before heading back to the NFL. Again, the Ticats need to rebuild the secondary and a guy with NFL experience could potentially help.
Wingo was on the Ticats’ practice roster for a bit last season and he’s played in a couple of games with the Bills in 2013. Given that C.J. Gable hasn’t been the mosts durable of players, finding solid second options is a must for Hamilton. The Ticats have made a habit of bringing guys back who were with the team during the practice roster expansion period the previous fall and Wingo falls into that category. Not much recent YouTube on Mr. Wingo.
I wrote about Huggins during training camp last June – he worked at Tim Hortons through high school and university to support his family – as he was trying to make the transition from linebacker to fullback. Originally a seventh round pick by the Ticats in 2015, Huggins went back to Western for his final season, where he went back to linebacker. The Ticats plan on continuing his conversion to fullback, where he could be a much-needed back up to C.O. Prime.