Eskimos ink Ole Miss alum
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos added another pair of legs to their quarterback stable, announcing the signing of Ole Miss product Jeremiah Masoli at the team’s Kickoff 2012 media luncheon Tuesday.
The five-foot-10, 221-pound pivot of Polynesian descent is another dual threat in a unit that has been re-mobilizing since trading away Ricky Ray last December in an effort to get away from the pocket passing of the past.
But Masoli comes with past of his own, which includes pleading guilty to a well-publicized robbery at a frat house, as well as marijuana possession that sent him packing from the University of Oregon — where he was a potential Heisman trophy candidate and the Ducks were a national championship contender.
He went on to spend the 2011 NFL pre-season with the San Francisco 49ers before joining the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks for their last three games of the season where he threw for more than 800 yards.
The 23-year-old Masoli is the fifth quarterback the Eskimos will bring into training camp on June 3 — just don’t expect him to be a ‘Ray-placement’ at starter.
“Jeremiah Masoli is coming in to be a part of the process. I don’t anticipate, minus something catastrophic, that he’s going to factor in this year,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed, who travelled down south to have Masoli work out last year. “We spent a couple of days with him, really trying to vet this guy as much as possible because we know that there are some things that we wanted to make certain were just mistakes for Jeremiah.
“He passed all the tests with us.”
In fact, Masoli has been on their radar for a while now, as Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman had the quarterback neg-listed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders before coming to Edmonton.
After transferring to Ole Miss in 2010, Masoli passed for 2,039 yards and rushed 121 times for 544 yards and six touchdowns. The California native passed for 4,186 yards and 29 touchdowns during his final two seasons of college football at Oregon and Ole Miss. He also rushed for almost 2,000 yards, including 29 rushing touchdowns in that time.
“Jeremiah’s skill set is ideal for the Canadian game, but it takes time and tremendous effort for young quarterbacks to develop,” said Tillman, who will rely on mentorship from his most veteran quarterback to help keep Masoli’s football future in focus — and keep any past transgressions in the past. “He is blessed to have a superb role model on and off the field in Kerry Joseph, and if he embraces the same characteristics that have defined Kerry’s career, Jeremiah has a chance to eventually become a quality quarterback in our league.”
GROUND GAIN: The Eskimos are expected to announce another player signing shortly that could have immediate impact on the team’s offence.
“We are in the process of signing a running back who will hopefully be the mail carrier for this year, if Jerome Messam doesn’t return from the Miami Dolphins,” Reed said.
KABONGO GONZO?: The veteran offensive lineman was released by the Eskimos in the off-season, but the team hasn’t completely written off the hefty, six-foot-seven non-import just yet.
“Ongoing discussions and we will be meeting with Patrick next week just to see where he is,” Reed said. “He is not completely out of the plans.”
August 25, 1988 — San Francisco, Calif.
In his junior year at Oregon he led the Ducks to a Pac-10 Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. His 2,815 yards of total offence in 2009 sits eighth on the school‚s single-season list.