January 19, 2024

Lions Add Americans Jonah Tavai & Chris Cooper To Defence

The BC Lions made another pair of additions to the camp roster today with the signings of American defensive lineman Jonah Tavai and American defensive back Chris Cooper.

Tavai (5’10, 283 lbs)- attended rookie mini-camp with the Seattle Seahawks in 2023 after signing as a non-drafted free agent. The Inglewood, California native enjoyed a productive career at San Diego State from 2019-22, recording 147 combined tackles (77 solo, 70 assisted), 36 tackles for a loss, 24 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles over 48 games.

Named to the First Team All-Mountain West in his senior season after racking up 60 combined tackles (32 solo, 28 assisted), 14 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. Jonah is the youngest of four football-playing brothers, including J.R. who suited up in nine games for the Lions in 2021 while recording 15 defensive tackles.

Jahlani has been with the New England Patriots since 2021 and was a second-round draft pick by Detroit in 2019. Justus attended 2023 training camp with the Patriots. All four brothers attended Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach.

Cooper (5’11, 200 lbs)- moves north after a 2023 stint with the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks where he recorded 27 combined tackles (16 solo, seven assisted) in nine games.

The Mount Vernon, New York native signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a non-drafted free agent in 2018 and would spend that season on the practice squad. After landing with the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice roster for the post-season in January 2019, Cooper landed with the Atlanta Falcons and was activated for a week 17 contest in the 2019 season. He would later spend two seasons on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice roster (2021-22).

Cooper transferred from AMS College to Stony Brook University from 2015-17 and would record 147 combined tackles (77 solo, 70 assisted), nine pass breakups, four interceptions and a fumble recovery across 33 games.