WINNIPEG, MB., – The Blue Bombers today announce the signing of American quarterbacks Cooper Callis and Josh Jones, American linebackers Christian Dixon and Barrington Wade, American defensive end Jadrian Taylor, and three 2023 CFL Draft choices; defensive lineman Tanner Schmekel (35th overall), running back Jonathan Rosery (62nd overall) and defensive lineman Collin Kornelson (44th overall).
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 percent 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 ushing for 10 more.
Dixon (6-0, 220; Middle Tennessee State: born: in Charlotte, NC) 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, IL.) played in 33 games over 3 seasons (2018-21) with the Hawkeyes posting 23 tackles, 1 sack and 2 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, TX.) began his collegiate career with Kilgore College (2018-19) where the defensive end had 53 tackles, 8 sacks, and 2 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, SK) was a 2022 U SPORTS First-Team All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star. The defensive lineman started 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, 6 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, AB) 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, MB) stays home, moving down the hall from his University of Manitoba 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 registered 27 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss.