Esks snap up ULM pivot

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:24 PM ET

Quarterback Steven Jyles can't wait to come to Canada.

The Edmonton Eskimos' most recent signing has heard great things about the Canadian Football League.

Charlie Weatherbie, his coach at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, was Warren Moon's backup with the Eskimos in 1979.

Weatherbie also played in the CFL with Hamilton and Ottawa.

"I've told him all about what a great organization the Eskimos are and what a great city Edmonton was," said Weatherbie.

"I have nothing but great memories of my time up there. And I think Steven will fit in very well with the types of schemes they run in the Canadian Football League."

Yesterday, the Eskimos announced they had signed Jyles, who broke every passing record at ULM.

The 23-year-old native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, finished his college career with over 10,000 yards of total offence.

He was named the Sun Belt Conference player of the year and offensive player of the year. He was also a first-team conference all-star and finished his career as the league's all-time leader in passing and total yards.

"I'm very excited about signing with the Eskimos," Jyles said. "I'm looking forward to going up there.

"I was fired up when I signed with Edmonton, because I know Warren Moon came out of there and I'm a big fan of Warren Moon.

"He was in a similar situation that I'm in."

Weatherbie's connection to Edmonton was instrumental in the Eskimos being able to sign the highly touted quarterback.

The six-foot-one, 200-pound Jyles threw for 2,235 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and ran for 436 yards and nine touchdowns.

"He's got the same type of skills that Warren Moon had," said Weatherbie.

"He's a very intelligent player. He's very mobile and has a great arm. He can throw the ball with touch when he needs to throw with touch, but he can also throw the heat when he needs to throw the heat."

Jyles gives the Eskimos four quarterbacks heading into training camp this year.

Ricky Ray is the team's designated starter, while Danny McManus, Jason Johnson and Jyles will battle to fill the other two spots.

McManus was acquired in the trade which sent Jason Maas to Hamilton. Johnson beat out veteran Khari Jones for the team's No. 3 position last year.

"Steven knows the situation in Edmonton and is comfortable with the situation," said Eskimos general manager Paul Jones.

"He just wants to come up and compete, work hard, learn as much as he can and whenever he gets an opportunity, he wants to be ready."

Weatherbie, who also coached Anthony Calvillo in college, believes Jyles has what it takes to succeed in the CFL.

"I haven't been around too many players like him," Weatherbie said.

"He's special. I think he could have the same type of longevity that Anthony has had up there. As far as I'm concerned, he ranks right up there with Anthony Calvillo."


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