B.C. brings another intriguing arm to camp

 

 
 
 
 
Files: Connor Halliday #12 of the Washington State Cougars throws the ball against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 10, 2014 in Palo Alto, California.
 

Files: Connor Halliday #12 of the Washington State Cougars throws the ball against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 10, 2014 in Palo Alto, California.

Photograph by: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

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If you thought the B.C. Lions were done searching for quarterback talent with the apparent discovery of the latest gem, Jonathon Jennings, you’d be wrong.

Former Washington State signal-caller Connor Halliday arrived in camp Tuesday along with six others as part of the Lions’ expanded practice roster. The Canadian Football League permits practice rosters, normally consisting of seven players, to be expanded to a maximum of 15 for a 30-day window, which starts Sept. 5 and ends Nov. 8.

Halliday, who’s 23, the same age as Jennings, holds the NCAA Division I single-game record of 734 passing yards, set in 2014 in a Pac-12 matchup with the Cal Bears.

In 35 career games with the Cougars, Halliday threw for 11,304 yards and 90 touchdowns, leading Washington State to its first bowl game in a decade in 2013.

He was coaching quarterbacks at his high school, Joel E. Ferris, in Spokane, when the Lions reached out to him.

“I thought I was going to end up taking a year off from football,” explained Halliday, who was signed by the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent. “I was just hanging around the game, coaching and throwing the football, keeping my arm in shape, when my agent called me and said that B.C. was interested. Here I am.”

Halliday becomes the fifth quarterback in Lions camp, joining veteran Travis Lulay and three other rookies, Jennings, Greg McGhee and R.J. Archer. Lulay is the only one older than 30. Archer is 28. McGhee has yet to turn 23.

“Connor has been on our neg list (negotiation list) for a while,” said Neil McEvoy, the Lions’ director of player personnel. “He was with the Redskins for a while. I’m not really sure what happened there. But he had a pretty prolific college career. We wanted to take a look at him.”

Halliday was invited to the NFL Combine in February but did not throw there, waiting instead to conduct his own Pro Day at Washington State in April, following an extensive rehab in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

His college career ended prematurely last November when the NCAA leader in passing touchdowns, passing yards and completions per game broke his leg after he was rolled up by USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

After sizing up the quarterback competition with the Lions Tuesday, Halliday said the presence of Jennings stuck out.

“Oh, yeah. He had a great practice,” Halliday said. “He’s really leading the offence now. It’s impressive.”

On Tuesday, Jennings was named as one of the league’s three Shaw CFL Top Performers of the Week after throwing for four touchdowns and scoring a fifth as a receiver in B.C.’s 46-20 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Ottawa quarterback Henry Burris (CFL record 45 completions in one game) and Lions defensive tackle Mic’hael Brooks (two sacks, two tackles, one interception) were also cited by the selection panel.

“For us to get where we have to go, we need stable quarterbacking,” veteran Lions halfback Ryan Phillips said.

“Jennings is playing that role for us right now. We’ll see how far it goes.”

mbeamish@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/sixbeamers

 
 
 
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Files: Connor Halliday #12 of the Washington State Cougars throws the ball against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 10, 2014 in Palo Alto, California.
 

Files: Connor Halliday #12 of the Washington State Cougars throws the ball against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 10, 2014 in Palo Alto, California.

Photograph by: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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