At least half a dozen players who picked up some of their game on Saskatchewan’s gridirons were drafted in the 2021 Canadian Football League (CFL) draft on Tuesday.
Three members of the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Huskies were chosen, including the second-overall pick — Nelson Lokombo — which was made by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
While the 2020 U Sports season was cancelled due to COVID-19, Lokombo was named the country’s best defensive player of 2019 with 39 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, five interceptions, four pass breakups and one forced fumble.
The defensive back, originally from B.C., was named the Huskies’ rookie of the year and helped the team win the Hardy Cup in 2017.
“The Riders got an absolute gem. (Lokombo) is so smart, he feels the game so well, is coachable, humble and is just a phenomenal athlete,” Huskies head coach Scott Flory said in a statement.
“He has a really bright future ahead of him there’s no doubt about it. He is as sure-fire of a prospect as there is.”
Saskatoon product Connor Berglof was picked 24th by the Ottawa Redblacks. The Huskies said he was a key piece on an offensive line that paved the way for the top rushing offence in Canada in 2019.
At 47th overall, the Toronto Argonauts selected Huskies safety Josh Hagerty. The Regina native tallied 13.5 total tackles in just six games in 2019, according to the team.
The University of Regina (U of R) Rams had two players selected by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Robbie Lowes and Kyle Borsa also played together at Michael A. Riffel High School in Regina.
Rams’ defensive back Lowes was taken 34th overall on Tuesday after collecting 56 solo tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two blocked kicks and an interception in his two seasons.
Borsa went just five picks later to Winnipeg. The running back compiled 2,195 all-purpose yards over two campaigns in Regina.
A former Rams linebacker, Nick Cross, was picked ninth overall by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Prior to his time with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, the Regina native played for U of R in 2017, where in eight games he recorded 46 tackles.
With the first overall pick in 2021, Hamilton selected Regina-born Jake Burt, who was raised in the United States.