- CFL Draft
HAMILTON — When Ciante Evans took a look at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats organization earlier this month, he really didn’t hesitate deciding to put pen to paper.
Yes, the fifth-year CFLer had a great experience with the Montreal Alouettes, the team he spent the 2019 campaign with, but what he saw in front of him in Hamilton was intriguing enough to want to sign a deal to join the black and gold.
“When you look at the Ticats and you look at the organization, man, it’s built strong,” Evans told Ticats.ca soon after he inked his new deal. “It’s a strong franchise from the top, from management, down. You can tell they have chemistry on the team, continuity. You can tell they really believe.
“They had a great year last year and they have some of the best fans. I mean, I just signed and my Twitter is going crazy. They have some of the best fans in the league and I’m just excited, really, to be a part of it. I’m just here to continue the great success that they’ve already had.”
The Tiger-Cats had much success in 2019, hitting a franchise-best record (15-3) and booking a trip to the Grey Cup. Their defence was also dominant as they led the league in points allowed (344) and opponent touchdowns (33). As a unit, they were also second in pass knockdowns (73), third in interceptions (22) and tallied 54 sacks, good for third in the league.
Most of that defence is set to return in 2021, including playmakers Simoni Lawrence, Ja’Gared Davis, Cariel Brooks and Frankie Williams, who were all pending free agents and signed extensions before hitting the open market early in February.
Evans brings a championship attitude to an already swaggy defence after he won a Grey Cup in 2018 as a member of the Calgary Stampeders. That year he played in 14 games and tallied 29 defensive tackles, two interceptions and forced a fumble.
He’s yet to play in a full CFL season, the closest he came to a full campaign was in 2017 where he played in 17 contests and amassed a career-high in defensive tackles (53) and interceptions (five). In 2019, Evans suited up in 13 games and collected 29 defensive tackles and three interceptions in Montreal.
While Hamilton is a city that Evans may be unfamiliar with, there are a few of his teammates that he does know very well. Evans and Tunde Adeleke suited up together in a dominant Stampeders’ defensive backfield in 2017 and 2018. Davis was also a teammate of Evans’ in Calgary.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” Evans said when asked about the familiar faces on the Ticats roster. “You have a relationship on the field as well as off the field. We can just come together and share some ideas off of each other and it won’t be the first time ever speaking it. And also, I played with JG (Ja’Gared Davis) on the D-line as well. He’s a good friend of mine here in Texas as well.
“It’s going to be good seeing those guys back in a familiar uniform and seeing them lineup across from you. It’s all going to be fun because we all share different relationships.”
Now Evans will turn his attention to the season ahead as he and the rest of the Tiger-Cats hope to play in the Grey Cup in their own city in November.