Cats sign DE Eze Obiora (former Manchester Rugby star)

The Cats snagged FA DE Eze Obiora (Southern Illinois) who received NFL interest and invites to camp this year.

Solid build (6'3 240lbs) and blazing speed (4.7 40yd) especially for a lineman, and may also be able to convert to SAM LB if required.

An extensive background in rugby could also be of benefit in regards to familiarity of some Canadian nuances, including field dimension.
seems like fine pickup.

[url=http://thesouthern.com/sports/college/siu-s-obiora-signs-with-cfl-s-tiger-cats/article_8c211488-b472-11e2-917a-0019bb2963f4.html]http://thesouthern.com/sports/college/s ... 963f4.html[/url]
[b]SIU defensive end Eze Obiora has signed a free agent contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, the school announced on Friday.

Obiora, a second-year transfer from the College of DuPage, tied for the team lead in sacks with eight last year. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end was third on the team with 12 tackles for loss and eighth in tackles with 50. A former rugby player from Manchester, England, Obiora came to the United States in 2008 hoping to learn how to play this country’s version of football and make a career out of it. Starting May 28 in Canada, when the Tiger-Cats open training camp, he’ll have that chance.

“A lot of NFL teams told me they weren’t sure if I could play linebacker,? Obiora said in a news release. “In the CFL, the field is wider, it’s three downs and a lot of passing. Pass-rushing and running around is my game, so it’s a good fit for me.?
[/b]


Eze Obiora - Southern Illinois University - OLB/DE - 2013 NFL Draft http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6hlBuG0FGk

I hope he is able to have the same success up here. :thup:

Looks like he understands the Canadian game and how it could best utilize his attributes. Nice. Can't just be big and fat and talented to succeed on this field and 20 sec clock and 3 downs that's for sure. :thup:

Think he'd be hard pressed to play SAM LB. Most of the SAM's in the CFL are converted DB's or Safeties due to the predominantly oriented passing game & having to cover slot receivers in motion to the field side of play. Perhaps the WILL spot ... But not SAM in the CFL.

4.7 speed in the 40 is fast no doubt. But is he faster than quick? At 6'3" 240 ... He'd be bigger than any of the LB's that have suited up for the Cats in recent years! I think it's a big stretch to ask a kid who's played DE for all of which has been a brief & limited football career ... To go and cover a slot receiver like Nik Lewis or Jamel Richardson or Geroy Simon.

Remember ... When it comes to the exchange rate or metric conversion of the NFL/FBS to CFL.

An OLB in NFL/FBS is a Rush DE in the CFL ... A BIg DB or Safety is a SAM LB ... An offensive guard is a tackle ...

Kickers are kickers no matter where! :wink:

Anyways, looks like a nice signing. An athletic DE is invaluable in the Canadian game!

As an English rugby player ... would he be a non-import, like our Australian kicker, or an import, because he went to a U.S. college?

If they have an Austrailian kicker who qualified as a non import, then why not an Englishman. If he's then determined to be a NI, then going to an American school shouldn't make a difference. Afterall, CIS players do it all the time.

All of this being said without reading the rule book.

FenderGuy69 wrote: Think he'd be hard pressed to play SAM LB. Most of the SAM's in the CFL are converted DB's or Safeties due to the predominantly oriented passing game & having to cover slot receivers in motion to the field side of play. Perhaps the WILL spot ... But not SAM in the CFL. 4.7 speed in the 40 is fast no doubt. But is he faster than quick? At 6'3" 240 ... He'd be bigger than any of the LB's that have suited up for the Cats in recent years! I think it's a big stretch to ask a kid who's played DE for all of which has been a brief & limited football career ... To go and cover a slot receiver like Nik Lewis or Jamel Richardson or Geroy Simon.
due to his athleticism and rugby origins, Eze originally tried out for the RB position, and subsequently changed to OLB at both Purdue and Dupage before settling in at DE with Southern Illinois.

with an equal combination of size, power and speed, and ability to cover ground or force pressure, it would not be inconceivable for this young man to fill in at the strong side especially considering his background.

Depending on his instincts, the congestion on that side of field could work to his advantage. Who knows.
Regardless, his many attributes still gravitate more to a DE position in the Canadian game.

Anyways, looks like a nice signing. An athletic DE is invaluable in the Canadian game!
agreed! Hopefully Eze becomes the next Hickman as the Cats never found a suitable replacement.

An import player is defined as:
(a) A player who has received training in football outside of Canada by having participated as a player in a football game outside of Canada prior to attaining the age of seventeen years.
(b) A player who has received training in football outside of Canada by having participated in a football game as a player outside of Canada after attaining the age of seventeen years, but who has received no football training in Canada prior to attaining the age of seventeen years.

A non-import is defined as:
(a) A Player other than one defined as an import.
(b) A Player classified as a non-import Player prior to November 28th, 2005.
(c) A Player who is physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of seven years prior to attaining the age of 15 years, or a Player who is a Canadian citizen and was physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of five (5) years prior to attaining the age of 18 years.

He would be defined as an import since he played US College Football and is not a Canadian Citizen.

So what about changing the rules and declaring players that have been in Canada for 4 seasons as NIs? Let's face it they have worked in Canada, paid income taxes here, sales taxes and spent money here, paid into CPP and EI like any other worker.

I'm assuming that he never played football before he attended college in the US. If that's the case, and assuming that he started college after he turned seventeen, then he would be considered a non-import.

No he wouldn't considered a non-import because of ...

(b) A player who has received training in football outside of Canada by having participated in a football game as a player outside of Canada afterattaining the age of seventeen years, but who has received no football training in Canada prior to attaining the age of seventeen years ... Is considered an Import.

I totally misread the second bolder phrase. You are correct. He would be an import.

This rule also means that if Bartel were to try out with an NFL team after his contract is up here, and were to play in a single exhibition game for them outside Canada, he would lose his non-import status.

I was guessing. Thank you for the facts, Fenderguy.

I'm pretty sure that wouldn't change things. Once you're determined to be / classified as an import or a non-import, you retain that status no matter where your travels bring you. If you could be reclassified, then every team would be trying to get their imports file for & granted Canadian Citizenship in order to circumvent the ratio rules. (Which was once done back in the 40's & 50's with the naturalized Canadian clause)

No problem.

I'd direct everyone over to the Ratio discussion thread that was started by our Caretaker for further questions, answers & most importantly ... Discussion.

[url=http://forums.ticats.ca/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=81433]viewtopic.php?f=5&t=81433[/url]

Actually, getting a Canadian citizenship doesn't change a player's status unless he had lived in Canada for long enough as a child.

... or a Player who is a Canadian citizen and was physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of five (5) years prior to attaining the age of 18 years.
But you could be correct that it's a one-time determination, although Bartel is one of the only players I can think of where the case I mentioned would apply, and there may not be any precedent for it.

Back on topic, I'm looking forward to seeing what Obiora can do. The bigger field won't be new to him, and his rugby experience should help in chasing down players as well as stopping the run. I suspect he would also be pretty amazing on special teams, especially kickoff coverage, as that is where our game is closest to its rugby roots.

I think Eze could have that size and speed needed to be a good Rush End something we haven't had since Joe Montford and that's probably the thinking of the coaches to get a guy similar to Joe who has speed and the strength to allude the lineman and sack the QB or make the big fumble happen or disrupt the play. All sounds great to me, Welcome Aboard Eze Obiora!!!!