May 19, 2023

Training Camp Chatter: Tim White’s leadership, Cole Tucker’s first week

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Tim White is not about to rest on his laurels.

The third-year wide receiver from Santa Clarita, CA, had a breakout season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2022 with 1,265 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on his way to being named a CFL All-Star.

Despite his recent accolades, White is not looking to stop getting better as he enters his third training camp with the Ticats.

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“I’ve been working really hard,” said the 28-year-old. “Definitely looking to go over whatever I did last year and have the best season I possibly can”.

White is going to have a lot of new faces to help him build on his league-leading 94-reception season, none more important than recently acquired veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell.

The 33-year-old is entering his 11th season in the CFL and first with a team not named Calgary Stampeders, where he won two Grey Cups and two Most Outstanding Player awards.

“Felt pretty good, felt like we were efficient as an offence today”, said a smiling White when asked about taking the field for the first time with his new quarterback.

The Californian is now the veteran in the receiving group in Hamilton, with fellow veterans Bralon Addison and Steven Dunbar departing to Ottawa and Edmonton respectively.

Hamilton’s front office also brought in former Saskatchewan Roughrider D’haquille “Duke” Williams to add more experience to the Ticats wide receiver room.

“I do (feel like a grizzled vet) somewhat for sure, there are a lot of new faces, a lot of young guys and going into my third year of experience I definitely feel like that.

“I feel like Duke has been pretty (vocal). We have a lot of good leadership and I think it showed today” added White about his new teammate.

The now grizzled veteran receiver, however, is not putting numbers above team goals as his expectations for the season.

“Definitely want to push the numbers up, but the focus right now is to get the team better every single day and making sure that guys are doing the right things.

“I think that’s the most important thing.”

Meanwhile in Calgary

Wide receiver Cole Tucker was drafted 4th overall in the 2023 CFL Draft (Northern Illinois Athletics)

Cole Tucker has had a pretty busy week.

The 2023 first-round pick of the Calgary Stampeders signed his contract on Tuesday, just one day before hitting the field with his new teammates for the Stamps training camp.

That was after spending rookie minicamp with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

“I left yesterday and got here around 11:30,” said the 23-year-old wide receiver. “Got a tour around the facilities, met everyone for the first time, met my teammates, got a physical, trying to learn a new playbook, it has been an adjustments but I’m happy to be here in Calgary.”

All that new information is added on top of learning not only a new playbook but an entire new set of rules after spending five years at Northern Illinois in the NCAA.

Tucker is not shying away from the challenge, though.

“It’s a little different,” said the Dekalb, IL, native who got Canadian citizenship through his mother. “Obviously you have a 12th guy on the field, you got the waggle, different motions.

“It’s a different philosophy, but I’ll do what I need to do to learn the playbook.”

Head coach Dave Dickenson knows it’s difficult for someone to come in and immediately know everything, even someone as bright as Tucker.

“I do think he’s got way too much on his plate,” said Dickenson about Tucker missing rookie camp. “I know he’s smart but c’mon, it’s not fair to go out there and think he knows all the things that the other guys know.”

The former Huskie finished his college career with 155 receptions for 2,031 yards and 10 touchdowns in 54 games, while also returning 43 punts for 156 yards.

Those numbers helped land Tucker in the first round of the 2023 draft, which comes with some expectations.

“I just want to come in and help the team win,” said the rookie about his objectives for the season. “I didn’t really make any goals other than that.

“I want to make a contribution to the team and hopefully we can win a lot of ball games.”

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