Rookies work hard to impress

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:10 AM ET

EDMONTON - A total of 32 players and the three returning quarterbacks took to Clarke Park as the Edmonton Eskimos rookie camp opened on Wednesday.

While generally only for first-year players and quarterbacks, the team also brought in some returning players who saw limited action last season.

Returning Eskimos include offensive lineman Greg Wojt, who missed the majority of his rookie season last year with a knee injury; wide receiver Jason Barnes, who moved from the practice squad to a starting role as a rookie last season; second-year running back Ramonce Taylor; safety Sammy Okpro, who returns for his second stint with the Eskimos after getting cut late last preseason; second-year linebackers Frantz Joseph and Greg Whelan, a U of A Golden Bears alumni; second-year receiver Kevin Wuthrich, an Edmonton Wildcats product; kick-return specialist Skyler Green, who ran back a 93-yard touchdown in his first-ever playoff game last season; and defensive tackle Adam Braidwood, who is making a return after missing the past two seasons due to a knee injury.

“He’s a veteran, but because of the way that the rules are, he can come and participate in rookies camp and it gives him a comfort level that the knee is stable,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall.

Drafted defensive backs Saleem Borhot and Corbin Sharun, from Leduc, both made their inaugural CFL appearance. Other new faces to watch include the versatile Rudy Burgess, who finished his college career at Arizona State with 4,739 all-purpose yards while splitting his time between receiver, tailback, cornerback and kick/punt returner. The All-PAC 10 star also played basketball and track.

Defensive end Larry Birdine was part of Oklahoma’s Sugar Bowl squads in 2003 and ’04, and is the step-brother of former NFL linebacker Jason Gildon.

Former San Diego Chargers defensive lineman Andre Coleman is making the move north of the border after three years with that club.

At six-foot-four, wide receiver Ernie Pierce stands out among rookie receivers and is fresh out of Kansas State. As a high-schooler, he lettered in basketball, track and golf.

The Eskimos invited quarterback Floyd Haigler, defensive back Roderick Williams and offensive lineman Alex Lau to rookie camp as unsigned players.

Defensive end Un’Tavious Scott and wide receivers Eldred King and Kelton Tindall did not report to rookie camp, along with defensive end Kenneth Pettway – a former Jacksonville Jaguar who is expected to be in attendance sometime this week.

The rest of the Eskimos will report to Commonwealth Stadium for medicals on Saturday morning, with training camp officially opening on Sunday.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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