July 11, 2023

Lions lift young cub Shaun Shivers in explosive debut

VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 9: The Montreal Alouettes play the BC Lions at BC Place July 9, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/BC Lions)

VANCOUVER — In the same way Rafiki presented Simba to the world in The Lion King, the BC Lions lifted rookie running back Shaun Shivers over their shoulders to showcase their new weapon to the world.

It was an almost perfect debut for the 23-year-old in the Lions’ 35-19 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday at BC Place.

Starting in place of the injured Taquan Mizzell, Shivers had 14 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown while adding two catches for 73 yards in the winning effort.

It would all have been smooth if not for his final play of the game. Catching a short check down from quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., the five-foot-seven running back broke a couple of tackles and found a lane down the right sideline for what seemed like an easy touchdown.

“Oh yeah, I’m gone,” said Shivers after the game about what was going through his mind during the play. “Nobody is going to catch me.”

That was until Als’ defensive back Dionte Ruffin did, well, catch him.

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With the Lions winning comfortably at home to improve to 4-1, the fumble didn’t affect the end result of the game. It did give Shivers something to worry about, though.

“Now I got to hear from my mom,” said a charismatic Shivers. “I know she’s waiting to call me about that play.”

Before coming to BC, Shivers attended rookie mini-camp with the Seattle Seahawks in May after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent.

The Fort Lauderdale, FL native suited up in 43 games at Auburn from 2018-2021, racking up 1,020 yards and eight touchdowns on 201 total carries and adding 38 receptions for 211 yards and one major.

The running back signed with the Lions two weeks ago and didn’t even get a chance to explore the city yet, noting he’ll try to do so as the team enjoys a bye in Week 6.

Despite his short time in BC, head coach Rick Campbell was already expecting a performance like that out of his recently signed running back.

“You have to see it translate from practice to the game, but that’s how he looked in practice,” said Campbell. “He was kind of eye popping in some of the runs in practice at how quick and fast he is.

“Good for our personnel department and good on him for a guy that has literally not been in Canada for very long to be able to pick things up and study to understand pass protection and all those things.”


Shivers had two rushes for more than 10 yards and helped take the pressure of Adams in the passing game as the Lions controlled the game at home. The Orange and Black scored 28 points on offence against an Alouettes’ defence that had yet to surrender more than 17 points in a game this season.

BC’s pivot was also excited to have a new weapon at his disposal after seeing the running back showcase his explosiveness up close leading up to the game.

“Seeing him through practice all week, I was so excited,” said Adams. “I couldn’t wait to get out here.

“You seen what he did on that (68-yard reception). Obviously he wants to hold on to the ball and things like that, but he’ll be better and I’m just excited to have him on our side.”

Equally enthusiastic about being part of this offence is Shivers himself, who wasn’t shy about the potential of the group in BC.

“Great talent, great receivers, great offensive line,” said a smirking Shivers. “I think we’re going to do a whole lot of numbers this year.”


BC’s offence enters Week 6 with Adams leading the league in passing yards (1,540), passing touchdowns (nine) and completion percentage (71.5), while wide receivers Dominique Rhymes and Alexander Hollins lead in receiving touchdowns (five) and receptions (24), respectively.

Now the offence gets another weapon in what is already an embarrassment of riches in the skill-player department.

“More explosiveness,” said Adams about what Shivers brings to the offence. “He’s a strong guy too. You know he can take home blocks, he can do those things. We already got the receivers and we can just toss it out to him and he gets to that edge.

“You can see what he can do.”

The Lions enter their first bye week with a 4-1 record and first place in a competitive West Division, ahead of the 4-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers on a tie breaker and a 3-1 Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Their record will be put to test when the Riders come to town on Saturday, July 22, for Week 7 action.