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Football: ULM Player bound for Toronto

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Football: ULM Player bound for Toronto

Article from the News Star:


Former ULM players bound for Canadian Football League

By Tabby Soignier
[email protected]


Former ULM quarterback Kinsmon Lancaster isn’t quite sure what an Argonaut is.

Former cornerback Darrius Battles is a little apprehensive about Canadian weather.

Not that those minor details will stop either of them from heading north in the next few weeks to join the Canadian Football League after offers came through following their college careers.

Lancaster’s recent stint came with the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings, in which he participated in two games before the Toronto Argonauts made ULM’s two-year starting quarterback an offer.

Those two games were enough to turn more than just the heads of the Argonaut coaching staff after throwing for 394 yards and 10 touchdowns. He completed 33-of-56 passes with just two interceptions. He also scored two rushing touchdowns in his debut game.

He is the second straight quarterback to come out of ULM and join the CFL. His predecessor Steven Jyles is beginning his fourth year in the league with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“I’m excited to get started,” Lancaster said. “I’ve talked to Steven a lot, and he gave me a couple of pointers. He said just to study hard and continue to work on the little things and just go out and do my best.”

Lancaster’s college career is highlighted by his start for ULM in the greatest upset of the program’s history against Alabama in November 2007, the same year he tied former quarterback Stan Humphries for the fourth most touchdown passes in school history with 18.

In his career, he also finished fourth overall in completions (509), touchdown passes (38), as well as fifth in pass attempts (881) and in passing yards (5.769).

“When he didn’t get a chance with the CFL team early on, I thought it was kind of strange, because I felt like he’s good enough to be up there playing,” ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie said. “I know how elusive of an athlete he is and how good he throws the football and smart he is. He is as smart as any coach.

“He’s a guy that studies the game and wants to know everything everyone’s doing.”

Battles, who finished at ULM after the 2007 season, sat out of football for one year after getting cut from the Cleveland Browns rookie camp shortly after the 2008 draft.

“They had to make a decision and that made me stronger,” Battles said of leaving the rookie camp. “My will to win is much stronger. I’ve been attending school. I had a semester of grad school, but I felt like something was missing. I wasn’t done with football.”

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will not let him be either. The team offered the cornerback a spot on its roster in February, and Battles was headed to his hometown of Mobile this week before moving to the town located in the south central area of Canada.

After sitting out his junior year due to academic reasons, Battles returned to the team to complete his last two years of eligibility, which included the win against Alabama in his home state.

“Darrius I’ve always felt like has great talent, and he’s a hardworking young man,” Weatherbie said. “He’s one of those guys you fall in love with. He has a great smile.

He’s a very personable guy. His work ethic gets you excited and that’s what will make him successful.”

Battles, who finished his senior year with 55 tackles — 42 solo — and 10 pass breakups, is all about networking. He visited Neville High School when coaches, including Winnipeg’s came into town to scope out the local talent. He also has worked out for several arena league teams hoping to find a spot on a roster.

Though this is the first roster he will be a part of since college, Battles made sure to meet as many people as he could, including players that can prepare him for the next level.

“I try to stay in touch with those guys,” Battles said. “Every year something different happens with the attitude and the game. I even try to get a little bit from those guys in the NFL.”

Drawing from his chats with other current CFL players, Battles said the biggest adjustment will be the style of play.

“The field is so much wider,” Battles said. “The game is a little faster. Then there’s adjusting to the weather — but that won’t keep me from competing for a job.”

Battles and Lancaster total the number to four former ULM athletes in the CFL. In addition to Jyles, defensive end Brandon Guillory will be entering his third year with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

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