It's only his second CFL stop, but Chris Bauman has already come a long way since playing nine-man football in high school.

The Edmonton Eskimos newest wide receiver signed a two-year (plus an option year) deal rumored to be in the $125,000 range annually, after spending his first four seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-cats.

The thing is, he's not even the biggest thing to come out of Brandon, Manibota's Vincent Massey high school. That honour has to belong to six-foot-six, 270-pound Israel Idonije, of the Chicago Bears.

"I have never actually met him. We have never been in the same place at the same time," said Bauman, from his home in Florida where he lives with his fiancee, Katie Mitchell. "The year he left Massey, I got there. But I know his two younger brothers and played basketball with both of them."

The Ticats' first draft pick in 2007, the six-foot-four, 212-pound Bauman had 298 yards and three touchdowns on 17 receptions, despite making just three starts in 18 regular-season games. He was released by his former club last week.

"I decided I was going to go to free agency anyway," Bauman said. "So when they told me, it wasn't a huge shock. I understand from their standpoint that they want to know what's going on and I want to know what's gong on, so I think it worked out best for both teams."

And Bauman got a head start on the whole free agency process, which doesn't open until Feb. 16.