Jamal Morrow has ‘a leg up’ but Riders starting running back competition ‘wide open’

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson was clear about the status of his team’s starting running back position entering 2022 training camp in a year where the Grey Cup is scheduled to be played at Mosaic Stadium.

“It’s going to be a competition,” Dickenson said. “That’ll be one of the spots that people will want to watch because there’ll be a new face back there carrying the ball.”

Jamal Morrow had nine carries for 41 yards in his rookie CFL season and flashed as a returner with a 69-yard punt return touchdown in the West Semi-Final win against Calgary. He caught three balls for 29 yards while amassing 330 yards on 30 punt returns, 586 yards on 26 kick-off returns and 206 yards on six missed field goal returns.

“We feel good about Jamal, we knew he was a good player two or three years ago when we signed him. We felt like he could be a returner and change of pace back,” Dickenson said.

Morrow played 50 games with 30 starts over four seasons at Washington State University from 2014 to 2017. The Menifee, CA native produced 316 carries for 1,795 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns while adding 202 catches for 1,748 yards and 14 touchdowns. He ranks third in Cougars history with 4,219 all-purpose yards.   

“Jamal is going to have a leg up on the competition because he has experience but it’s going to be wide open,” Dickenson said.

Shamar Moreland and Shaq Cooper have been signed during the off-season and as of late February there were five running backs on the Riders exclusive 45-man negotiation list, each one of them has NFL experience.

“Now with William Powell being gone that tailback position is wide open. We’re hoping to bring in some good competition during training camp,” Dickenson said.

Mike Weber, Adrian Killins, Jacques Patrick, Rodney Smith and Tyler Ervin are the intriguing names that could be signed to battle Morrow for the number one role. The 27-year-old Morrow proved he could carry the load in the NCAA, but needs to do so in the CFL.