Argos Add Two, Sample Retires
Photo: Courtesy Merrimack College Athletics and Villanova Athletics
The Toronto Argonauts made three roster moves on Thursday, announcing the signing of American OL Kofi Appiah and American DB Caleb Holden, as well as the retirement of American DB James Sample.
Appiah is a 6’6”, 305lb left tackle fresh out of Villanova. He fits the Vince Magri ideal of strong athletic big-men who strain through the whistle. Appiah started 26 of the 28 games in which he appeared, with every single snap coming at left tackle except one where he lined up as a right tackle on an unbalanced line.
From distance, Appiah looks like a linebacker until you get perspective on just how large an individual he is. He’s trim and quick with extremely good reach and a powerful punch. As aggressive and dominant as he can be, especially as a run-blocker, his play looks surprisingly raw at times for someone who spent five seasons with the Wildcats, though it’s not hard to see what the Argos like in his film. He has the potential to be a star if he can be more consistent.
In camp, Appiah will almost certainly be competing for the left tackle spot with Dejon Allen and Isiah Cage, but it’s possible Martez Ivey and Trevon Tate will also be in the mix on the left side, depending on whether or not the team wants to start a Canadian at right tackle.
Caleb Holden is a 5’10”, 180lb corner out of Merrimack College. He’s got good speed, great anticipation, and plays an intelligent brand of football. He baits extremely well in zone coverage, especially as the flats defender. His man coverage is decent, but not as good as his athleticism would suggest.
Holden played a bit of nickel for the Warriors, but projects exclusively as a CFL corner, likely to the field side. He’ll look to challenge Jalen Collins and Canadians Arjen Colquhoun and Matt Boteng for a roster spot. The fact that he’s a solid special teams contributor is a point in his favour.
James Sample spent two season with the Argonauts, but never even made it to the practice field. The former Louisville Cardinal defensive back was projected to compete for time as a Sam-backer with his combination of great coverage and physical play as a box safety in college. He’s a gifted player, and it’s a shame he wont have the opportunity to showcase his talent, but the Argonauts have a strong defensive backfield and won’t be short of talent at any one position without him.