Saskatchewan Roughriders at B.C. Lions: eight players to watch in the preseason clash

Photo courtesy: B.C. Lions

With four games on the preseason schedule Friday, players on the bubble have one last shot to crack their team’s roster.

Dozens of future CFL stars will be battling for their jobs today but with so many new prospects on every roster, it can be difficult for fans to know who they should have their eyes on.

As always, 3DownNation has done the work for you. We’ve published a list of players to watch ahead of every preseason game in 2022, giving fans — whether in-stadium or watching on TV — an easy cheat sheet to enhance their viewing experience.

It will be 10:00 p.m. EST when the Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the B.C. Lions for the league’s final exhibition contest. If you plan to tune in, here is who you need to be watching.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

Jamal Morrow, RB, Washington State

Morrow has earned his opportunity to become the Riders’ starting running back through two years of exemplary service as a depth player and there is no question the fan base is behind him. It is clear, however, that he is being pushed hard by rookie Frankie Hickson, who looked explosive in his preseason debut. Both will get time to state their case Friday and Morrow will need to ace his rebuttal as part of the starting group.

Jakob Prall, REC, Brown

There is a spot available in the Riders’ starting lineup with Kyran Moore banged up and, at least according to the depth chart, Prall is the one getting that coveted audition. The five-foot-11, 190-pound Ivy League standout had just one catch for six yards on Tuesday but is the type of smaller, speedy slotback that thrives in the CFL. Could he be the next Weston Dressler? He’ll have to prove it against B.C.

Samuel Emilus, REC, Louisiana Tech

The Riders’ 2022 first-round pick flashed some great stuff in his CFL debut, leading the team with 32 receiving yards on two catches. A fitter version of Justin McInnis has the leg up on Saskatchewan’s second starting Canadian receiver role, but Emilus has the potential to create controversy with another strong performance. Indeed, the crisp route-runner could even make a case for the team to start three National pass-catchers if Craig Dickenson is so inclined.

Samuel Wright II, DE, Princeton

A latecomer to training camp, Wright ripped up the Ivy League with 11.5 sacks his senior year and I’m inclined to believe he could continue to produce at a higher level. The six-foot, 258-pound defensive end has tremendous power and deceptive bend, with enough length to succeed in the CFL. Wright has one shot to impress and I fully expect him to.

B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: University of Saskatchewan Athletics

Nathan Cherry, DT, Saskatchewan

Some were surprised when the Lions took Cherry with the third overall pick in the 2022 CFL Draft, but the high motor defensive tackle has reportedly exceeded all expectations in training camp. The team didn’t even bother to take him with their second unit to last week’s preseason game and his first taste of live action in orange will be an important measuring stick for how soon he can be actively involved in the pass rush rotation.

Tyneil Cooper, DB, Dixie State

Cooper last played in the CFL all the way back in 2018, making 13 tackles in five games for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and he’s been a training camp standout in his return to the league. The Dixie State product was all over the field in preseason action last week, even picking off Bo Levi Mitchell, prompting the Lions to release 2021 starter KiAnte Hardin. The field halfback job now appears to be Cooper’s to lose, but he can’t let his foot off the gas with 2021 returnee Jalon Edwards-Cooper right behind him.

Montay Crockett, REC, Georgia Southern

Crockett wasn’t high on my list of exciting prospects entering camp. The 28-year-old had just 525 career yards in college and bounced around the NFL, before being cut by Winnipeg in training camp last year. However, he set himself apart with a five catch, 80-yard performance last week and his 4.39 speed simply can’t be ignored. Crockett should see plenty more offensive action in this one and will be given a shot at the team’s open returner job.

Michael O’Connor, QB, UBC

O’Connor was impressive in his first preseason outing, but word out of the Lions is that they haven’t been overly impressed by the Canadian’s training camp. American Kevin Thomson was expected to steal the number two job behind Nathan Rourke prior to his injury last week, but the team has already brought in veteran backup Antonio Pipkin as insurance. O’Connor has always been something of a gamer and this will potentially be his last opportunity to prove he has what it takes to be leaned on when live bullets are flying.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and youth football coach. He covers the CFL, the CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.