Riders release receiver Ricardo Louis, confirm retirement of former first-round pick Mattland Riley

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders released American receiver Ricardo Louis and moved five players to the retired list, including Canadian running back Jonathan Femi-Cole, Canadian receiver Terrell Jana, Canadian offensive lineman Mattland Riley, American offensive lineman Bryce Hargrove, and Global defensive lineman Chris Ezeala.

Louis started nine games for the Riders last season at slotback and made 18 receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns. He was a fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2016 NFL Draft and dressed for 32 games over this first two seasons with the club, recording 45 receptions for 562 yards.

Riley was the Riders’ first-round pick in the 2020 CFL Draft out of the University of Saskatchewan. He was reportedly leaning towards retirement after spending almost the entire 2021 season on the club’s one-game injured list.

The 25-year-old Melfort, Sask. product spent four seasons at the University of Saskatchewan appearing in 31 games for the Huskies, playing his final season at left guard. In 2019, Riley was part of the offensive line that helped running back Adam Machart to an incredible 1,610 yards and nine touchdowns on 195 carries. 

Jana was a second-round pick out of Virginia in the 2021 CFL Draft, while Femi-Cole was a sixth-round pick out of Western in the 2020 CFL Draft. Jana’s retirement was reported months ago, while Femi-Cole missed his entire rookie season due to a torn Achilles tendon.

Saskatchewan also signed six American players including receiver Dieuly Aristilde Jr., receiver Charles Headen III, defensive lineman Benjamin Davis, defensive lineman Kailon Davis, defensive lineman Ezekiel Rose, and defensive lineman Justin Thomas.

Aristilde Jr. played at Bethel University this past season, starting 11 games. He recorded 32 receptions for 768 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 24 yards per catch.

The six-foot-four, 215-pound Florida native spent his first two college seasons (2016-17) at Eastern Michigan, playing in 14 games and making 32 catches for 571 yards and two touchdowns. His best game in an Eagles uniform came in 2016, when he went off for seven catches and 193 yards and one touchdown against Miami.

Davis played six collegiate seasons (2016-21) split between the University of Alabama and the University of Texas. The Alabama native joined the Longhorns as a redshirt senior for his additional year of eligibility, which was granted by the NCAA. He suited up for 11 games with the team, registering 16 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one quarterback hurry.

Prior to Texas, the six-foot-four, 236-pounder played 24 games for the Crimson Tide and contributed largely on special teams. Over that time, he also recorded seven defensive tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, and one pass deflection and was a member of the 2017 and 2020 NCAA Championship teams.

Davis spent last season playing collegiately at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. In nine games as a Golden Lion, he earned 18 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.

The six-foot-three, 250-pounder was featured in season three of the Netflix show Last Chance U when he was at Independence Community College (2017-18). In 14 games there, Davis racked up 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

Headen III spent last season at Southern Methodist University, seeing action in two games as a graduate transfer. The Philadelphia native spent his first three collegiate seasons (2017-2019) at Shippensburg University, playing in 34 games. The former Raider recorded 80 catches for 909 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 11.4 yards per reception. He was also a contributor on special teams, returning 15 kickoffs for 273 yards.

Rose most recently spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, seeing action in one game in the 2021 season. He spent two collegiate seasons (2017-18) at the University of West Virginia, finishing with 43 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two interceptions, two passes defended, and one forced fumble over 25 games played.

The six-foot-two, 308-pounder spent two years (2015-16) at East Mississippi Community College, playing in 18 games for the Lions. The Mississippi native recorded 44 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and capped off his 2016 season by winning the MACJC Championship.

Thomas played one collegiate season at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, playing in 12 games for the Blazers. The Alabama native recorded 11 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one defended pass, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He previously spent three collegiate seasons at Louisiana State University (2017-2019), seeing action in 11 games.

The former Tiger earned 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. In the Blazers pro day, Thomas did 22 bench press reps and ran a 4.85 40-yard dash, which would have been the third-fastest time among defensive tackles at the NFL Combine.