Riders’ defensive back Nelson Lokombo ‘should be good to go’ for start of training camp

Photo courtesy: Josh Schaefer, GetMyPhoto.ca/Huskie Athletics

Over a year after being selected second overall in the 2021 CFL Draft, it looks like Riders’ defensive back Nelson Lokombo will be ready for action on see a CFL field.

“Nelson should be good to go,” general manager Jeremy O’Day said. “All the medical reports that we are getting, he’ll be ready for camp.”

Lokombo was the team’s top pick out of the University of Saskatchewan last year but an Achilles injury suffered on the same day as three of his teammates also suffered their own ended his rookie season before it even started.

In addition to Lokombo, linebacker Larry Dean, defensive lineman Freddie Bishop III and running back Jonathan Femi-Cole went down with Achilles tears in quick succession during a drill last summer. All four players were lost for the season, with Femi-Cole recently being added to the team’s retired list.

Lokombo is seen by many as a potential ratio-breaking player due to his positional versatility, even drawing comparisons to Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ defensive back Tunde Adeleke, and it is easy to see why.

The Abbotsford, B.C. native recorded 115 total tackles, six tackles for loss, 15 pass knockdowns, 10 interceptions, three sacks, and two forced fumbles in 30 games with the Huskies. The five-foot-11, 190-pound cover man received the Presidents’ Trophy as the top defensive player in U Sports football following the 2019 season.

But to showcase the skills he flashed at the Canadian university, level Lokombo needs to get on the field. With training camp about to commence in less than a week’s time on Sunday, May 15 — if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached on time — it looks like the former Huskies standout will finally get to show what he can do at the professional level.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.