April 5, 2024

Who will starting receivers be for Alouettes in 2024?

Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Kaion Julien-Grant (11) makes a catch during second half CFL football game action against the Hamilton Tiger Cats in Hamilton, Ont. on Friday, June 23, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

The Alouettes group of receivers will look different than it did a year ago, but they won’t have to fill as many holes as they did this time last year. But expect there to be stiff competition given the fact that there are seemingly fewer openings on the roster in 2024.

When it comes to departures, the Alouettes lost two pass-catchers this off-season. Last year’s leading receiver Austin Mack signed with the Atlanta Falcons, while Canadian Jake Harty inked a free-agent deal with the B.C. Lions in February.

Mack’s departure leaves an obvious hole within the offence. He finished fifth in the league in receiving yards, with 1,154, and he capped off his incredible year by accumulating six receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown in the Grey Cup game.

Do you need tickets for the 2024 season? Check out our 3, 5, Flex 10 and season memberships right now!

Even though the Alouettes signed former Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Tevin Jones last February, replacing Mack’s production won’t fall on just one guy. Young receivers like Tyson Philpot, Kaion Julien-Grant and Tyler Snead will all look to shoulder a heavier load.

At the start of last season, Julien-Grant showed that he could be a premiere receiver in the CFL. In his first six games of 2023, he finished with 62, 94, 129, 66, 64, and 71 receiving yards. To put that into perspective, that would’ve put him on pace for 1,245 yards over an 18-game season. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury against Calgary on July 30th that kept him out until mid-September. He was then injured in Ottawa just three games into his return. That injury put an end to his season. The 27-year-old Canadian will be healthy heading into camp.

Philpot, who is also Canadian, will always be remembered for his game-winning touchdown reception in the Grey Cup, but there’s a great chance that he’ll make many more happy memories before his career is over. The 23-year-old missed a good chunk of training camp and the first five games of the season last year, which resulted in him getting off to a slow start. Anyone who has watched him over his first two years in the league sees that his upside is off the charts. He spent most of his off-season training at the Alouettes’ facility at Olympic Stadium.

Snead has a realistic chance of being the leading American receiver on the team in 2024. He started last year on the practice roster, and he didn’t get into the starting lineup until July 9th in Vancouver. Despite missing three games, he accumulated an impressive 788 yards and five touchdowns.

The addition of Jones, who is familiar with Cody Fajardo and Jason Maas from their time together in Saskatchewan, gives them another big-play threat. The 31-year-old had 882 yards and three touchdowns in 17 games for the Riders last year. Those numbers are solid considering Saskatchewan was forced to use multiple starting quarterbacks after the injury to Trevor Harris.

As for Harty, he also played a key role down the stretch. Not only was he a contributor on special teams, but he also jumped into the starting lineup when Julien-Grant went down to injury. The veteran was used primarily as a blocker for Fajardo, but he scored a crucial touchdown in the East Semi-Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Expect second-year receiver Shedler Fervius to take over for Harty. He was excellent on special teams last year, and he has intriguing upside on offence down the line. The 25-year-old was selected in the fifth round of the 2023 CFL Draft.

So, to recap, we have Julien-Grant, Philpot, Snead, and Jones as four of the five starting receivers heading into training camp. We still haven’t even mentioned Grey Cup hero Cole Spieker, who showed that he could be as clutch as anyone on the roster on the biggest stage. He scored a huge touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter of the championship game, and he caught that deep ball from Fajardo on third-and-five with the title on the line. There’s your fifth starting receiver.

But there are other players that could make things interesting heading into the season. Reggie White Jr. has missed the last year and a half with a serious knee injury, but he was really starting to round into form in practice late last season.

In fact, on this week’s French episode of the PodcAls, strength and conditioning coach Pierre-Olivier Breault was asked about which player’s rehab from injury he was most proud of, and he mentioned White Jr. by name.

“He really impressed me,” Breault said of White Jr. “The way he rehabbed his injury and his mental toughness stood out. His injury – and I don’t want to scare anybody here – but it was serious. It was a big knee injury.

“We’re going to be cautious with him to start camp. You can never be too cautious in these situations but based on what we saw at the end of last season, I’d say the situation is promising.”

Before going down to injury in Oct. of 2022, he was the second leading receiver on the team behind Geno Lewis. If gets back on the field healthy, how do you keep a player that talented on the sideline?

Snead started the year on the practice roster because the Alouettes wanted Keshunn Abram in the starting lineup. The 25-year-old played just two games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Quartney Davis is also on the roster. He made a highlight-reel grab in Vancouver in July. It ended up being one of the best receptions of the year in the CFL.

Those are all the players that have dressed for the Alouettes or in the CFL before, but there are also many new receivers coming to camp that could surprise in the same way Mack and Snead did last season.

Jose Barbon, Kameron Brown, Malachi Carter, Ramaud Chiaokhia-Bowman, Tyjon Lindsey, and Jalen Wayne are all under contract heading into camp.

Training camp in Saint-Jérôme kicks off on May 11th with the first practice open to fans taking place on May 12th. More details will be available shortly.