May 10, 2024

5 Things To Know For 2024: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Peter Power/

As the 2024 season approaches, is here to catch you up with the 5 Things To Know series. Each article will look at key storylines facing each team this season, while examining off-season movement and where your team might stand in 2024. 

Once again this past off-season, the winds of change blew through the corridors in Hamilton, like the game day gusts that so often prevail at Tim Hortons Field.

A new head coach in Scott Milanovich. A new general manager in Ed Hervey. And a whack of changes on the field, mostly on the defensive side of the ball, with the Ticats saying ‘so long’ to some familiar faces, welcoming new ones that they believe will make the unit hum in 2024.

But as training camps open and the season draws nearer, the team has both optimism and concern blowing around in those breezes.

Here are five things to know about the Hamilton Ticats.

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The Ticats were hit with a couple of big revelations as rookie camp opened up.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell showed up with his right foot protected by a walking boot. It’s being called “precautionary” at this point and the ‘Cats say that Mitchell is expected to be at practice on Monday, when camp gets into full swing.

There is now a hole for Hamilton to fill in its linebacking corps, as National Jordan Williams — expected to start at either weak side or middle this season — told the team that he has decided to retire. It will be interesting to see how the Ticats proceed here. They just recently signed another young, National linebacker, Enock Makonzo, who was released by Edmonton at the beginning of May.


In 2023 the Hamilton defence was less than the snarly version that fans love to associate with the club, traditionally. There are plenty of changes within the unit as the team tries to regain some swagger on that side of the ball.

Longtime mainstays in defensive tackle Ted Laurent and linebacker Simoni Lawrence will not be in the Hamilton line-up this season, ending an era that saw the two of them in Black and Gold together since 2014.

The Ticats raided their rival, the Toronto Argonauts for a number of new faces that should provide plenty of oomph in 2024, including lockdown corner Jamal Peters and defensive linemen Brandon Barlow and Dewayne Hendrix.

With a revamped line and a new linebacking corps that was just hit with a key loss in Williams — and with a secondary filled with holdovers and boosted plenty by the presence of Peters — we’ll see if the Hamilton defence can return to fearsome form.


Scott Milanovich made the move from senior assistant coach to head coach, which should bode well for Mitchell and the Ticats’ offence (

It’s a whole new deal at Ticats camp as the Scott Milanovich way takes over for 2024.

There’s no doubt that Milanovich imprinted his style a little during the 2023 season when he was brought in as the team’s senior assistant coach, but now the culture is all his as Hamilton’s head man, with Orlondo Steinauer shifting into the front office on a full-time basis as president of football operations.

It will be interesting to see how Milanovich and quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell work together. One would assume the pairing will work well, as Milanovich has a great track record in working with veteran pivots, including Ricky Ray in Toronto and Anthony Calvillo in Montreal.

If Mitchell’s foot remains a lingering problem, then it’ll be intriguing to see how Milanovich works with young quarterback Taylor Powell. Milanovich has a decent history in that regard as well, having brought both Zach Collaros and Trevor Harris along, when they were young and breaking in in Toronto.


It appeared that the Ticats would need to come up with a solution in their punt and kick return game when they lost both Tyreik McAllister (NFL) and Lawrence Woods III (BC Lions) over the off-season. Prior to McAllister breaking through to take over as the main and dangerous return threat in 2023, Woods was Hamilton’s guy in 2022, with over 800 yards in punt returns and nearly 1,000 more on kick-off returns.

With both gone, it appeared Hamilton would introduce a new face back there on kicks.

Surprise, surprise, though. The Lions released Woods just prior to training camp and Hamilton pounced, bringing him back for the 2024 season. The 26-year-old can provide electricity aplenty in the return game as well as depth in the secondary.


The Ticats added a couple of tall drinks of water in free agency, hoping that one or both of them can provide Mitchell and Powell with a little extra added elevation and radius when it comes to downfield targeting.

Former Stampeder Luther Hakunavanhu and former Blue Bomber Brendan O’Leary-Orange are each six-foot-four, with Hakunavanhu checking in at 209 pounds while O’Leary-Orange weighs in at 226.

Hamilton already has the incredible Tim White to lead the corps, with more-than-capable vets Terry Godwin II, Omar Bayless and Kiondré Smith returning as well. If either Hakunavanhu or O’Leary-Orange can step up and bust through to the next level, the picture will be complete.

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