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January 23, 2024

Blue Bombers add to roster

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers today announce the club has signed seven American players – receivers Keric Wheatfall, Braxton Burmeister, Peter Afful and Oliver Martin,  kicker Jose Borregales and linebacker/defensive back Marcus Hillman. defensive end Ali Fayad.

Wheatfall (6-2, 194; Fresno State; born:  in Brenham, TX) has signed with the Blue Bombers after dressing for three games with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL in 2023 and following a stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in their 2022 training camp as an undrafted free agent. He began his college career at Blinn College before transferring to Fresno State. Over three seasons with the Bulldogs Wheatfall had 78 receptions for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns, posting 38 catches for 616 yards and four TDs in his senior season.

Burmeister (6-1, 205; San Diego State; born: in La Jolla, CA) joins the club after attending Los Angeles Rams training camp last summer. A converted quarterback, Burmeister began his collegiate career at Oregon, before transferring to Virginia Tech and then to San Diego State. Over that span he combined to throw for 3,020 yards with 19 touchdowns against 11 interceptions while rushing for 834 yards and seven scores. At San Diego he passed for two touchdowns and three touchdowns, rushing for 224 yards and one more TD while beginning the conversion to receiver and catching one pass for 19 yards.

Borregales (5-10, 185; University of Miami; born: December 15, 1997, in Caracas, Venezuela) comes to the Blue Bombers after signing with the Orlando Guardians of the XFL in November of 2022, but then seeing that team fold when the XFL merged with the USFL to form the United Football League. He first signed professionally as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in May of 2021 and spent that year on the practice roster before being let go in August of 2022.

Borregales began his collegiate career at Florida International University in 2016 and became the school’s starting kicker after a redshirt season. He connected on 76.9 percent of his field goal attempts at FIU and was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker in 2018. He transferred to Miami in 2020 and playing as a graduate student and was a unanimous All-American and captured the Groza Award after hitting on 20 of 22 field goal attempts.

Hillman (6-0, 200; Elon University; born: in Camden, NJ) joins the Blue Bombers after starring with the Elon Phoenix. He played in 47 games over five seasons at the school (2018-22), registering 101 tackles, 13 sacks, one interception, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and five pass knockdowns. As a senior he was a First Team All-CAA (Coastal Athletic Association) after leading the team with 83 combined tackles.

Fayad (6-2, 250; Western Michigan; born: May 12, 1999, in Dearborn, Michigan) signs with the Blue Bombers after appearing in four games with the Toronto Argonauts in 2022 and then signing with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL last spring before the league folded to merge with the XFL.

Fayad starred at Western Michigan and in 2021, his final season, was named the MAC (Mid-America Conference) Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Mac after finishing with a team high 13 sacks, 40 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and two pass breakups. Fayad played in 55 games over five years at Western Michigan, registering 98 solo tackles, 33.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

He first turned pro as an undrafted free agent signing by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022 and then signed with Toronto in September of that year, dressing for the four games, and finishing with four tackles, one special teams tackle and a sack.

Afful (5-10, 190; Washburn University; born: November 5, 1997, in Lawrence, KS) attended mini-camp with the Kansas City Chiefs last spring and attended the UFL Showcase in St. Louis last summer. He played one season at Coffeyville Community College before joining Washburn where he had 63 catches for 1,220 yards and 16 touchdowns, adding 170 yards on eight carries and 138 yards in 23 games with the Ichabods. He was a two-time All-MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) and finished his career ranked third in program history with an average yards per catch of 19.4.

Martin (6-1, 200; University of Nebraska; born:  in Coralville, Iowa) was part of the Blue Bombers practice roster expansion last September and rejoins the club for 2024. He spent preseason last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars after collegiate stops at Michigan, Iowa, and Nebraska. He had 25 catches for 405 yards in three years with the Cornhuskers and got the attention of NFL scouts at Nebraska’s Pro Day in 2023 when he posted a 41-inch vertical and 134-inch broad jump in testing.