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Blue Bombers sign remaining three players from 2023 CFL Draft class – Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers now have all eight of their selections from the 2023 CFL Draft under contract following the signing on Sunday of defensive linemen Tanner Schmekel (University of Regina) and Collin Kornelson (University of Manitoba), as well as running back Jonathan Rosery (University of Alberta).

Schmekel was the Blue Bombers’ fourth-round selection (35th overall); Winnipeg took Kornelson in round five (44th overall) and Rosery was the team’s seventh-round pick (62nd overall) in the May 2 draft.

The Winnipeg football club had earlier announced the signing of their other five selections:

  • defensive lineman Anthony Bennett (U of Regina, first round, 8th overall),
  • defensive back Jake Kelly (Bishop’s University, second round, 15th overall),
  • receiver Jeremy Murphy (Concordia Univeristy, third round, 26th overall),
  • defensive back Bret MacDougall (U of Windsor, sixth round, 53rd overall), and
  • linebacker Max Charbonneau (U of Ottawa, eighth round, 71st overall).

Winnipeg has added the names of five more American players to their roster ahead of the start of rookie camp at IG Field on May 10. Joining the team are quarterbacks Cooper Callis and Josh Jones, linebackers Christian Dixon and Barrington Wade, and defensive end Jadrian Taylor.

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Below are thumbnail sketches provided by the Bombers of the eight players signed on Sunday.

Callis (6-3, 215; Southwest Baptist University; born: June 8, 1999, in Jackson, Mo.) played in 25 games from 2020-22 with the Bearcats, completing 68.2 per cent of his passes for 7,712 yards and 73 touchdowns against 22 interceptions while rushing for 407 yards and five more scores. He began his collegiate career at Fullerton College of the California Community College Athletic Association.

Jones (6-3, 220; University of North Carolina at Pembroke; born: June 6, 2000, in Wilmington, N.C.) comes to the Blue Bombers after a collegiate career with the UNCP Braves (2018-22) that saw him suit up for 46 games as a five-year starter and four-year captain. Jones threw for 2,302 yards and 13 touchdowns last year for the Braves while rushing for 219 yards and two more scores. Over his collegiate career, he threw for 10,148 yards and 70 touchdowns while rushing for 10 more.

Dixon (6-0, 220; Middle Tennessee State; born: in Charlotte, N.C.) spent his collegiate days at Middle Tennessee State as a redshirt senior in 2022 after previously playing at Towson State University (2017-21). Dixon had 46 total tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year at Middle Tennessee. In 2021 at Towson State he was named All-CAA Third Team linebacker after finishing with 73 total tackles and tying for the team lead with four sacks.

Wade (6-1, 210; University of Iowa; born: March 16, 1998, in Skokie, Ill.) played in 33 games over three seasons (2018-21) with the Hawkeyes posting 23 tackles, one sack and two interceptions. Wade was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2021 and was later claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos. The linebacker played in four NFL games and had one tackle and one assist before joining the Bombers this season.

Taylor (6-1, 246; University of Texas at El Paso; born: February 9, 1999, in Lufkin, Texas) began his collegiate career with Kilgore College (2018-19) where the defensive end had 53 tackles, eight sacks, and two forced fumbles across 21 games. He then transferred to UTEP (2020-22), where he finished with 81 tackles, 19.5 tackle-for-losses, 16 sacks, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble return for a touchdown over 32 games. Taylor was an honourable mention All-Conference USA in 2021 after a stellar campaign with 33 tackles 6.5 sacks, and a pass breakup in 13 games.

Schmekel (6-2, 300, University of Regina; born: July 22, 1999, in Regina, Sask.) was a 2022 U Sports First-Team All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star. The defensive lineman started in all eight Canada West games at defensive tackle in 2022, registering six tackles for loss including a pair of sacks during conference play. The three-time University of Regina Defensive Lineman of the Year finished the season with a total of 14 tackles (11 solo, six assisted) and a pass breakup. Schmekel redshirted with the Rams in 2017 before starting all eight games in 2018 and leading the team’s linemen in tackles, finishing with 16½ and adding 1½ tackles for loss. He then played for the Regina Thunder (CJFL) in 2019 before returning to the Rams in 2021.

Rosery (5-9, 193, University of Alberta; born: January 16, 2000, in Edmonton, Alta.) was named a 2022 Canada West All-Star after amassing 536 yards on 29 receptions for two touchdowns and adding 160 more along the ground last season. In his four seasons with the Golden Bears, Rosery totalled 75 receptions for 1,151 yards and six touchdowns while adding 564 rushing yards and another score.

Kornelson (6-3, 240, University of Manitoba; born: February 14, 2000, in Winnipeg, Man.) stays home, moving down the hall from his University of Manitoba Bisons locker where he was team captain in 2022. After playing his minor football for the Valour Patriots and then the St. Paul’s Crusaders, Kornelson joined the Bisons in 2019. In six games in 2021, he recorded 18.5 tackles, one sack and one tackle for a loss. He built on his totals in 2022, playing in all eight games and registering 27 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss.

Click to play video: 'Blue Bombers connecting with youth in remote, northern Manitoba communities'

Blue Bombers connecting with youth in remote, northern Manitoba communities

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