December 11, 2017

Ticats ink six international free agents

Patrick Doyle/

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Monday that the football club has signed six international free agents, including defensive end Ryan Mueller, quarterback Dane Evans, running backs Storm Johnson and Rajion Neal, and linebackers Lucas Wacha and D.J. May.

Mueller, 26, appeared in four games with two starts at defensive end for the Tiger-Cats in his rookie season in 2017, registering two defensive tackles and one special teams tackle. The 6-2, 248-pound native of Morristown, New Jersey, converted to fullback and had a short stint with the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. He was originally signed as an outside linebacker/defensive end by the San Diego Chargers and served time on the team’s practice roster after going undrafted in 2015. Mueller played four seasons at Kansas State University (2011-14) at defensive end before turning pro, posting 119 career defensive tackles and 20.5 quarterback sacks.

Evans, 24, spent the final month of the 2017 season on the Tiger-Cats practice roster after attending training camp with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. The 6-1, 218-pound native of Sanger, Texas, spent five years (2012-16) at the University of Tulsa, registering 904 pass completions on 1,577 attempts for 11,680 yards, 84 touchdowns and 47 interceptions in 46 career games for the Golden Hurricane.

Johnson, 25, spent the last four seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins (2016-17), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2014-15). He played in six NFL games making one start with the Jaguars in 2014, collecting 86 rushing yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns. The 6-0, 228-pound native of Lithonia, Georgia, was originally selected by Jacksonville in the seventh round, 222nd overall, in the 2014 NFL Draft. He attended both the University of Central Florida (2012-13) and the University of Miami (2010) before turning pro. In 26 games with the Knights, Johnson registered 326 carries for 1,646 yards and 18 touchdowns, added 40 receptions for 280 yards and three receiving touchdowns, and earned first-team All ACC honours in 2013. In 10 games in his lone season with the Hurricanes, he collected 119 rushing yards on nine carries with one touchdown, and had one reception for nine yards.

Neal, 25, served just over two weeks on the Tiger-Cats practice roster at the end of the 2017 season. He also spent time in the NFL over the last three seasons with the Cleveland Browns (2016-17), Pittsburgh Steelers (2015-16), Oakland Raiders (2015), Miami Dolphins (2015) and Green Bay Packers (2014-15). Neal never saw action in the regular season but suited up in 11 preseason games, accumulating 114 rushing yards on 26 carries with one touchdown, and 12 receptions for 86 yards and a receiving touchdown. The 5-11, 220-pound native of Fayetteville, Georgia, played 43 games over four seasons at the University of Tennessee (2010-13), registering 444 carries for 2,163 yards and 19 touchdowns, while adding 66 receptions for 626 yards and five receiving touchdowns.

Wacha, 24, spent the final month of the 2017 season on the Tiger-Cats practice roster after signing as an undrafted free agent and attending training camp with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The 6-1, 225-pound native of Texarkana, Texas, was a four-year starter at the University of Wyoming (2013-16), appearing in 46 career games with 344 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, four quarterback sacks, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

May, 24, had two stints on the Tiger-Cats practice roster last season after attending rookie camp with the NFL’s Detroit Lions in May. Prior to turning pro, he played in 37 games at running back and linebacker over five years for the University of Wyoming Cowboys (2012-16). The 5-11, 205-pound native of Federal Way, Washington, registered 133 carries for 634 yards and three touchdowns, 14 receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns, and added 130 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three sacks, thirteen passes defended, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. May also returned 59 kickoffs for 1,507 yards and four punts for 20 yards.