Ticats sign two Americans including QB J’Mar Smith

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Monday the football club has signed two American players, including quarterback J’Mar Smith (pictured) and offensive lineman Travis Vornkahl.

Smith, 24, signed as an undrafted free agent with the National Football League’s New England Patriots and spent time with the team in 2020.

The 6-1, 218-pound native of Meridian, Mississippi made 44 appearances for Louisiana Tech University over four seasons (2016-19), completing 759 of his 1,280 pass attempts (59.3%) for 9,523 yards, 51 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Smith added 326 carries for 856 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns with the Bulldogs throughout his collegiate career, while also being named Conference-USA Offensive Player of the Year (2019), and earning First Team All-Conference USA honours (2019), four Conference-USA Commissioner’s Honour Roll selections (2016-19), an All-Conference USA Honourable Mention (2018), an All-Louisiana Honourable Mention (2017), and was selected as the DXL Frisco Bowl Offensive Player of the Game (2017).

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The multi-sport athlete, who was drafted by Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres in 2015, is the son of former NFL defensive lineman Kenny Smith.

Vornkahl, 25, attended training camp with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2019 before stints with three NFL teams, including the Cleveland Browns (2019), Washington Redskins (2019) and Indianapolis Colts (2019-20). The 6-6, 298-pound native of Sealy, Texas played 32 games at both guard and tackle for West Texas A&M University over three seasons (2016-18). He was named to the Second Team All-Lone Star Conference in 2018 and received All-Conference Honourable Mentions in 2016 and 2017 with the Buffaloes.

The Tiger-Cats also announced the following player has retired:
USA – RB – Branden Oliver

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