January 10, 2012
(Edmonton) Eskimo General Manager Eric Tillman announced the signing of import linebacker Simoni Lawrence and import wide receiver/returner Derrick Townsel today.
The 6-1 228 pound Lawrence played at the University of Minnesota, where he recorded 149 tackles his last two seasons. He later signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles, and, after being released, spent time with the Bears and Eagles on each team's practice roster.
"Simoni is an outstanding athlete, and we're eager to see him in training camp," said Tillman. "At the NFL Combine, back in February of 2010, he recorded a 40 inch vertical jump and a 4.58 forty yard dash, both of which are very impressive, especially for a linebacker. We feel Simoni's speed and athleticism should translate well to our larger CFL field."
The 5-9, 175-pound Townsel had an outstanding career at Murray State, where he had 153 receptions for 1712 yards and five touchdowns. As a senior, he averaged 22.7 yards per kickoff return and 24.1 yards on nine punt returns. After completing his career with the Racers, the speedy Townsel signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the spring of 2010 and later with Houston, where he spent time on the Texans' practice and active roster.
"Derrick is an explosive little guy who addresses one of our team needs - big play potential," said Tillman. "In the NFL he was viewed as a return man, and I know he's excited to have a chance to utilize all of his talents in our league."