January 30, 2024

Riders sign Lanier to one-year extension; sign linebacker McClain

Dave Chidley/CFL.ca

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders made sure that head coach Corey Mace would have have a dangerous pass-rushing weapon as he implements his new scheme.

The Riders and defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II have agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Tuesday. The veteran was set to become a free agent on February 13.

Lanier II signed with the Riders in 2021 and has been a dominant force on the defensive line for three years in Saskatchewan. The defender has 14 sacks and two forced fumbles in 35 appearances with the Green and White.

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The veteran is part of a defensive line that also featured Micah Johnson and Pete Robertson, both of whom are set to become free agents on February 13 if they don’t sign an extension with the team.

Lanier II (six-foot-six, 285 pounds) returns for 2024 after suiting up for 14 games last season. The versatile 30-year-old lined up at both defensive tackle and defensive end, tallying 19 tackles, five sacks, two tackles for loss, one pass knockdown and one fumble recovery. He played 11 games in 2022 earning eight sacks – including three in a dominant performance in Week 4. He also tallied 19 defensive tackles, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Lanier II played 10 games in his rookie CFL season, registering 13 defensive tackles and one sack.

Prior to the Roughriders, he spent five seasons in the NFL, initially signing with the Washington Commanders in 2016. He went onto play 15 career games with Washington, making ten tackles, five sacks, five tackles for a loss, six passes defended, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. In 2018, Lanier II signed with the Los Angeles Chargers where he stayed for two seasons. The 29-year-old also spent portions of 2020 with the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints.

Collegiately, Lanier II played for the Alabama A&M Bulldogs. As a senior in 2015, he made 29 tackles, six tackles for a loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, four quarterback hurries and one pass break-up over eight games. As a junior, he was second on the team in tackles with 54 while adding 18 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a blocked kick.

Lanier II will now be a part of a new defensive scheme under Mace, who was hired after two years as the defensive coordinator with the Toronto Argonauts and led a defence that finished last season first in sacks with 68.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders also announced on Tuesday that they have signed American linebacker Zakoby McClain.

McClain (6’0-230) signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent after the 2022 NFL Draft after an exceptional collegiate career at Auburn (2018-21). The George native played 49 games and tallied 267 defensive tackles, including 19 tackles for loss, six sacks, one interception, nine pass deflections and four forced fumbles.

As a senior, McClain was named All-SEC second team, a Pro Football Focus College all-SEC honorable mention and received an East-West Shrine Game invitation. As a junior – which was also his first season as a starter – he led the SEC and tied for first nationally with 113 tackles. In 2019, his 100-yard pick-6 helped him place third in the SEC for interception return yards, while his three forced fumbles ranked second in the conference

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