The Edmonton Elks are all about embracing the “new” as they prepare for the 2021 CFL season. New franchise name, new logo, and new head coach, Jaime Elizondo. With 99 players on their training camp roster, there is nothing but new opportunities for some first-year players as well. The team is returning plenty of known talent like veteran quarterback Trevor Harris. He’ll have one of the most elite wide receiver corps in the league at his disposal, with Derel Walker, Greg Ellingson, and Armanti Edwards all coming off 1,000-yard seasons. The running back room leaves something to be desired with no clear workhorse back. This team is obviously built to be one of the most pass-heavy units in the league.
There are plenty of new names to get to know at training camp. Below is a brief scouting report for each offensive skill-position player listed on the team’s official roster.
Trevor Harris (6’3”, 212 lbs, age 35)
Ninth season in CFL, second season with Edmonton. Connection with Elizondo from their time together in Ottawa. Second-most passing yards in the CFL in 2019 despite playing just 13 games. Threw 16 TDs to six INTs in 2019 while also rushing for six TDs. Harris is a two-time Grey Cup champion (2012, 2016) and CFL passing TD leader in 2015. Spent time in the NFL with the Jaguars (2010) and Bills (2011).
Taylor Cornelius (6’5”, 232 lbs, age 25)
First year in CFL. Has a connection with new head coach Jaime Elizondo from their time together with the Tampa Bay Vipers in the XFL. Cornelius took over for Aaron Murray in XFL and played substantially better. A one-year starter at Oklahoma State in 2018. Dangerous dual-threat ability. Amassed 406 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs as a starter at OK State while ranking first in the Big 12 with 288 pass completions on 485 attempts. Also ranked first in the Big 12 with 13 interceptions. Spent time with the Green Bay Packers in the 2019 rookie camp.
Drew Anderson (6’4”, 225 lbs, age 25)
First year in CFL. Went undrafted in the NFL Draft. Played in the 2019 NFL preseason with Arizona Cardinals. JUCO product from Diablo Valley College in Contra Costa County, California. He also attended the University of Buffalo, where he threw for 597 yards with seven passing TDs and one rushing TD in a single game that Buffalo lost against Michigan State in seven overtimes in 2017.
Troy Williams (6’2”, 208 lbs, age 26)
Spent time on Edmonton’s practice squad in 2019. He was activated for Week 18. He only completed one of three passes in the CFL and has one INT on those three attempts. Spent time in college in Washington, Santa Monica, and Utah. Owns a 17/14 TD/INT ratio between Washington and Utah. Eventually lost the starting job at Utah to Tyler Huntley. Participated in rookie minicamps in the NFL with the Seahawks and Chargers in 2018 and again in 2019 with the Seahawks but has never been offered a contract at the NFL level.
Derel Walker (6’2”, 187 lbs, age 30)
Sixth season in CFL. He spent his first four years with Edmonton and spent 2019 with Toronto when he signed a one-year contract reportedly worth $275,000 Canadian, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the CFL. Walker received the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie Award in 2015, where he put up 89 catches for 1,110 yards and six TDs during Edmonton’s Grey Cup championship campaign. CFL All-Star in 2015 and 2016. CFL West All-Star 2015, 2016, 2018. CFL East All-Star in 2019. Early on, Walker played baseball, football, and track and field in high school. Continued football at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, before transferring to Texas A&M. He was the last receiver to catch a pass from quarterback Johnny Manziel in college. Walker went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft but was picked up briefly by the Titans. He also had a brief stint with college teammate Mike Evans on the Buccaneers in 2017.
Armanti Edwards (5’11”, 183 lbs, age 33)
This is Edwards’ fifth year in the CFL and his first year with Edmonton. Member of the 2017 Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts. Decorated college QB, a two-time NCAA FCS national champion (2006, 2007), the first back-to-back and two-time Walter Payton Award winner (2008, 2009), and first quarterback in Southern Conference history to lead his team to four straight conference championships. The Carolina Panthers drafted him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Saw minimal action with Carolina and was released in 2013. Also spent time with the Browns (2013) and Bears (2014) but never saw significant action. Played four games with Roughriders in 2016 before getting traded to Toronto, where he broke out in 2017. Spent time with the Dallas Renegades in the XFL in 2020 before rejoining the CFL.
Greg Ellingson (6’3”, 197 lbs, age 32)
Eighth year in CFL, the second season with Edmonton. 2016 Grey Cup champion with the Ottawa Redblacks. CFL East All-Star 2016-2018 with Ottawa, CFL West All-Star 2019 with Edmonton. Over 1,000 receiving yards each of the last five seasons. NFL experience in 2011 with the Jaguars and 2012 with the Buccaneers.
Earnest Edwards (5’10”, 175 lbs, age 23)
First year in CFL. Product out of UMaine. Versatile usage, including roles on special teams where he tied the FCS kick return TDs record. Edwards ran a 4.44 and 4.41 40-yard dash at the 2020 Rochester Pro-Day and turned in an impressive workout overall. He briefly signed with the Rams in 2020 but never made the roster or practice squad. An intriguing prospect who had the second-highest deep REC grade in the 2020 NFL Draft class per ProFootballFocus.
J.J. Jones (5’10”, 173 lbs, age 28)
First year in CFL. Started as a JUCO walk-on at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Mississippi. He transferred to West Georgia, where he had a small role as a senior as a wide receiver and kick returner. Signed by the Chargers in 2018 and made the 53-man roster thanks to an impressive preseason performance. The Chargers waived him in 2018, but he was quickly picked up by the Jets, where he caught his first and only career reception in the NFL. Jones was waived by the Jets in 2019 and picked up by Edmonton in 2020.
Mike Jones (6’0”, 181 lbs, age 28)
Fifth season in CFL, first season with Edmonton. Spent the previous four years with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Product out of Southern University and a member of the 2013 SWAC championship team. He was selected in the third round of the 2016 CFL Draft by Hamilton.
Hunter Karl (6’1”, 185 lbs, age 25)
He was selected in the seventh round of the 2019 CFL Draft. Spent 2019 suspended so Edmonton could retain his rights. College experience at the University of Calgary, where he led the Dinos in receiving in 2018.
Jerry Louie-McGee (5’9”, 174 lbs, age 24)
First year in CFL. He attended the University of Montana, where he set a school record with 230 receptions. He also holds a UM, Big Sky Conference, and FCS freshman record with 21 catches in a single game. As a senior, he led the league in punt return yards averaging 17.1 yards per return – the fourth-most in the FCS.
Malik Richards (6’1”, 195 lbs, age 25)
He was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 CFL Draft by Winnipeg. Suffered what was expected to be a devastating injury on the first day of rookie camp and was released. Signed with Edmonton in 2019. Attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, Canada. Two-time Atlantic University Sports All-Star. 2018 East-West Bowl participant. Had the third-best 40-yard dash time (4.62) and fifth-best vertical (36.5”) at the 2019 CFL Draft Combine.
Shai Ross (6’0”, 180 lbs, age 27)
Second season in CFL. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 CFL Draft. Played five games with Edmonton in 2019 on special teams with just three touches. Ended 2019 on the injured list. Attended University of Manitoba and JUCO with the Okanagan Sun in the Canadian Junior Football League.
Shakeir Ryan (5’8”, 169 lbs, age 25)
Third season in CFL. Spent 2018 with Hamilton and B.C., 2019 with Montreal. Just one career reception in CFL. Primarily used on special teams. Attended Northwestern State, where he has the second-most receptions in school history. Ran a 4.30 40-yard dash at Northwestern’s Pro-Day. Signed with the Rams in 2017 and participated in their rookie minicamp. Released by the Rams after the preseason and signed with Washington Football Team, where he spent 10 weeks on the practice squad. Cousin of former NFL RB Kevin Faulk.
Kenny Shaw (6’0”, 170 lbs, age 29)
Fifth season in CFL. He spent two seasons with Toronto, one with Ottawa and one with Saskatchewan. Broke out with 1,004 receiving yards in 2016 with Toronto. Attended Florida State, where he put up 933 receiving yards and six TDs as a senior behind Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin on the depth chart with Jameis Winston under center. 2014 BCS National champion. Undrafted in NFL but spent 2014 with the Browns, Jaguars, and Raiders.
Rodney Smith (6’5”, 235 lbs, age 31)
Third season in CFL. Spent the last two seasons with Toronto. Attended Florida State, where he was a teammate with fellow Elks wideout Kenny Shaw. 2012 ACC champion. Solid experience in NFL camps and practice squads. Spent time in 2013-2014 with the Vikings, 2014-2015 with the Browns, 2015-2016 with the Cowboys, 2016-2017 with the Seahawks. Despite this, he has no receptions at the NFL level.
Tevaun Smith (6’2”, 197 lbs, age 28)
Second season in CFL and with Edmonton. He was drafted by Edmonton in the first round of the 2016 CFL Draft. Attended college in Iowa, where he was teammates with NFL tight end George Kittle. Smith led Iowa in receiving yards as a junior in 2014. His 17.6 yards per reception was the third highest in the Big Ten in 2015. Signed with the Colts in 2016, spent time with the Raiders in 2017, and spent time with the Jaguars in 2017-2018. He was injured/waived by the Jags in 2018.
Kenny Stafford (6’3”, 204 lbs, age 31)
Eighth season in CFL. Stafford spent the last three seasons with Edmonton and was also a team member during their 2015 Grey Cup championship. He spent 2014 and 2016 with Montreal and was a member of the Stampeders in 2013. Attended college at Toledo but never had a sizeable offensive role. He spent time with the Atlanta Falcons in 2012 and a month with the Dolphins in 2013.
Jalen Tolliver (6’3”, 210 lbs, age 25)
First year in CFL. Experience with coach Elizondo as a member of the Tampa Bay Vipers in the XFL. He played college football at Arkansas-Monticello. He led the conference in receptions (69), receiving yards (1,090), and receiving touchdowns (14) in his junior season. Two-time First-team All-GAC (2016, 2017). Signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, recording three catches at the NFL level. Spent time with the Titans and Chiefs in 2019.
Danny Vandervoort (6’2”, 204 lbs, age 27)
Third season in CFL. He was originally selected in the first round (3rd overall) in the 2017 CFL Draft by the Lions. He spent 2017-2018 with B.C. but has just one career reception in the CFL. Vandervoort played college football at McMaster University, where he was named CIS rookie of the year in 2013. His 29 career receiving touchdowns are third-most all-time in U Sports history.
Diego Jair Viamontes Cotera (5’10”, 189 lbs, age 30)
Edmonton’s first overall pick in the inaugural 2019 CFL/LFA Draft after playing with the Mayas CDMX of the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional. He represented the national under-19 team at the 2009 IFAF Junior World Cup in Canton, Ohio. He also played for the Mexico national team at the 2011 IFAF World championship in Austria, where he won a bronze medal.
James Wilder Jr. (6’3”, 232 lbs, age 29)
Fourth season in CFL. Spent three years with Toronto. Won the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie Award in 2017 during the Argo’s Grey Cup championship run. Attended Florida State in college where he won back-to-back ACC championships (2012, 2013) and was named the Offensive MVP for the 2012 ACC Championship Game. BCS champion in 2014. Undrafted in the NFL but spent 2014-2015 with the Bengals and 2016 with the Bills. Never activated in NFL.
Terry Williams (5’9”, 207 lbs, age 29)
Fourth season in CFL. Spent the last three seasons with Calgary and part of the 2018 Grey Cup championship team. Set a record for the longest punt return in the Grey Cup with a 97-yard return for a touchdown. More of a special teams threat in his career than a threat as a running back. Has a career-high of 53 carries for 275 yards in the 2019 CFL season. JUCO product out of Phoenix College and attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Two-time All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference second-teamer. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at his pro day and received an invitation to the NFL Giants’ rookie camp. Spent one day with the Jets.
Walter Fletcher (5’9”, 191 lbs, age 24)
First season in CFL. Attended Edinboro University in Pennsylvania where his new QB, Trevor Harris, is the all-time leading passer. Fletcher earned Division II All-America recognition during the three years at Edinboro. He totaled more than 4,500 yards from scrimmage and 47 total touchdowns before transferring to Ball State. Showed solid dual-threat ability as a rusher and receiver in one season at Ball State accumulating 1,032 yards from scrimmage and seven TDs. Favorite breakout candidate at the position.
Tarean Folston (5’10”, 214 lbs, age 26)
First season in CFL. Four-star recruit out of high school. Played college football at Notre Dame despite also receiving offers from Florida State, Auburn, and Oregon. Led Notre Dame in rushing as a sophomore with 889 yards on the ground and another 190 yards receiving. Tore his ACL as a junior. Went on to play in the Alliance of American Football (AAF) for the Atlanta Legends and led the team in rushing before the league shut down. Spent time with coach Elizondo in the XFL as a member of the Tampa Bay Vipers but was placed on injured reserve before the season started.
Marvin Kinsey Jr. (6’1”, 206 lbs, age 23)
First season in CFL. Attended Colorado State University where he ran for 1,629 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career. He was leading the Mountain West in rushing the first seven games of his senior season in 2019 before getting suspended for violating team rules and being removed from the team. He also led the NCAA in fumbles (7) at that time.