From Melfort, Sask., Riley spent the past four seasons at the University of Saskatchewan and played his final season at left guard.
Riley is a two-time Canada West All-Star and U SPORTS first-team all Canadian. He participated in the U SPORTS East-West Bowl in 2018 representing the West.
The six-foot-three, 300-pound lineman helped the Huskies win the Hardy Cup in 2017, bringing the trophy back to the USask for the first time in a decade.
“If you were telling me this yesterday (Wednesday), I probably wouldn’t have believed it. I’m really excited. Obviously, I am a Saskatchewan boy so it means a lot,” Riley said.
“My phone is just going off right now from all of my friends back in Melfort. They’re super excited.”
As to where he will fit in on the team’s offensive line, Riley said he sees himself has an interior player.
“Centre or guard. It just really depends on how I fit in during training camp and I hope to bring the same kind of attitude I played with in college,” Riley said. “That’s playing mean, playing physical and being smart.”
Roughriders’ vp of football operations, Jeremy O’Day, said the team felt it needed to add depth to its offensive line and believes Riley was a good fit.
“After we watched the tape over a long period of time, we just felt really comfortable with what Mattland brings to the table,” O’Day said.
“He’s well-coached, he comes from a good school … and more important than him being a local kid, he’s a very good football player.”
O’Day said he isn’t in a rush to add Riley to the opening day lineup and is preaching patience, but is leaving it up to him to force his way onto the team.
Despite the uncertainly of the 2020 CFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Riley is keeping positive and staying ready.
“The excitement hasn’t quite warned off yet so I’m still extremely happy,” Riley said. ‘Of course, it’s sad, the possibility of training camp being bumped so far back.”
“I’m preparing like training camp is happening in a week. I’m going to be excited whenever it goes.”
With two picks in the fourth round, the Roughriders selected wide receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker and linebacker A.J. Allen, both out of the University of Guelph.
Schaffer-Baker, a Mississauga, Ont., native, spent four years at Guelph and played in 28 games. He recorded 95 career receptions for 1,544 yards along with eight touchdowns.
Listed at six feet four inches and 195 pounds, Schaffer-Baker led all receivers with five catches for 126 yards and a touchdown in the 2019 East-West Bowl.
From Burlington, Ont., Allen played in 31 games over four years at Guelph, where he made 63.5 tackles, five and a half sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries. He’s listed at six foot one inch and 210 pounds.
With their fifth-round pick, the Roughriders selected defensive back Vincent Dethier out of McGill University.
At five feet 11 inches and 218 pounds, the Boisbriand, Que., native recorded 104.5 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, four quarterback sacks, four interceptions, eight knockdowns, six fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in 34 games over four years.
The Roughriders selected running back Jonathan Femi-Cole in the sixth round. Femi-Cole spent his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota and last season at Western University.
In eight games at Western, the five feet 10 inch, 218-pound running back recorded 40 carries for 174 yards and five touchdowns. The Vaughan, Ont., native also added four tackles.
With their seventh-round pick, the Roughriders selected offensive lineman Jesse Lawson out of Carleton University. Over his two years at the school, the Surrey, B.C., native played in nine games.
Defensive lineman Neville Gallimore was the Roughriders’ final pick of draft in the eighth round.
The Ottawa-native was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
Listed at six feet two inches and 330 pounds, Gallimore spent the past four years at the University of Oklahoma, where he played in 46 games.
Over his college career, he recorded 147 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, eight and a half sacks, two pass deflections and five forced fumbles.
“It was more a risk-reward pick, knowing if you get him down the line and even if you get him for a couple of years, he’s a guy who can come in and really be a top player in the league,” O’Day said.
“Obviously, you’re wishing him the best in the NFL, but if it doesn’t work out, we’ll see if there is an opportunity for him to come here.”
O’Day said he likes all of the picks, and expects them to help the team down the road.
“We picked players in all the areas that, when we went into the draft, we thought could add depth” O’Day said.
“Overall, as for the whole draft, we picked a pretty good variety of players.”
The Roughriders finished the 2019 season with a 13-5 record — enough for first place in the West Division.View link »