Riders sign former USFL running back B.J. Emmons

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Butch Dill

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have added some much-needed help to their ailing offensive backfield, signing American running back B.J. Emmons. 

A four-star prospect from North Carolina, Emmons began his career at the University of Alabama. In six games as a freshman in 2016, he carried the ball 35 times for 173 yards and one touchdown, contributing in a backfield rotation that included future NFL ball carriers Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough and Josh Jacobs.

After spending a season at Hutchinson Community College and sitting out the 2018 campaign, Emmons transferred to Florida Atlantic for his final two collegiate seasons. Battling injuries, he played nine games over that span and carried the ball 88 times for 353 yards and seven touchdowns.

The six-foot, 220-pound back went unselected in the 2021 NFL Draft but was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. He was released prior to training camp and picked up by the Las Vegas Raiders, notching 24 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games, but did not make the roster.

The 25-year-old had brief stints on Seahawks’ and Jaguars’ practice rosters that season before landing in the USFL with the Tampa Bay Bandits. He rushed 97 times for 246 yards and a score as the team’s secondary back, earning a contract with the Houston Texans. Emmons was released just five days later, leading to him signing in the CFL.

The Riders are currently without their top two running backs, with Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson both on the six-game injured list. Practice roster option Shaun Wilson was also unable to dress this week due to a minor injury of his own and Canadian Kienan LaFrance started against Winnipeg, before leaving the game early. Saskatchewan was forced to finish out the loss without a healthy running back.

The team recently signed veteran Shaq Cooper but Emmons could still make an impact early in his CFL career. The Riders (6-9) are next scheduled to play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (4-10) on Friday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.