Hamilton Tiger-Cats add pair of defensive backs with Adeleke ailing


Published October 11, 2022 at 2:26 pm

With starting safety Tunde Adeleke hurting, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are making reinforcements to their last line of defence.

Defensive backs Jordan Hoover and Will Sunderland, respectively a seasoned Canadian veteran and an American who is a newcomer to the CFL, were signed by Hamilton on Tuesday, the club reported. Hoover started last season for the Edmonton Elks at safety, the Canadian-earmarked position in the defensive secondary that Adeleke mans for Hamilton.

Adeleke has a knee injury and had “limited” practice participation on Monday when Hamilton (5-10) began prepartion for a must-win game against the Calgary Stampeders (10-5) on Friday (Oct. 14, 10 p.m., TSN/RDS/AM900CHML/Ticats Audio Network).

With three games to go, Hamilton is two games behind the second-place Montréal Alouettes (7-8) for the last secure East Division playoff berth. The Alouettes also hold a season-series tiebreaker. Hamilton has one fewer win than the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-10), who have to have an outright better record than the East third-place finisher to wrest a cross-over playoff berth.

The Ottawa Redblacks (4-11) are mathematically alive, and still have a home-and-home series against Hamilton.

Hoover (pictured) played 66 games over four seasons with Edmonton (2017-21), registering 134 total tackles, including 111 defensive tackles, one quarterback sack and three interceptions. The six-foot-two, 190-pound Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native appeared in 13-of-14 games with the Elks in ’21, and developed into a CFL player with the Waterloo Warriors of Ontario University Athletics.

While he started last season, Hoover was released by the Elks before training camp this season.

The 26-year-old Sunderland most recently spent time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders this season. The six-foot-two, 196-pound Midwest City, Okla., native had NFL look-sees from the Green Bay Packers (2020), Indianapolis Colts (’20-21), Seattle Seahawks (’21) and Atlanta Falcons (’21).

Sunderland is a product of the Troy Trojans, a Group of 5-calibre college football team in the Sun Belt Conference. He competed in 24 games over two seasons (2018-19) at Troy, tallying 59 total tackles, including five tackles for loss, 1.5 quarterback sacks, nine pass deflections and five interceptions. He also played in 16 games over two seasons (2015-16) with the Oklahoma Sooners, a Power 5-level team that is usually in contention for the Big 12 title and major bowl bids.

(Photo: Edmonton Elks.)

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