Geaux Riders: Saskatchewan signs former NFL and LSU offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins

Photo: AP/Keith Srakocic

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed former NFL offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins.

The six-foot-six, 305-pounder was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round, 123rd overall, of the 2016 NFL Draft and went on to play 19 games in the NFL, making one start. Hawkins also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.

The Baldwin, Louisiana native spent four seasons at Louisiana State University from 2012-2015, starting all 39 games he played as a Tiger.

In his senior season, Hawkins played a total of 754 offensive snaps and recorded 38 knockdown blocks and helped the Tigers set a school bowl record with 638 yards of offence in the 2015 Texas Bowl.

Hawkins also paved the way for the Tigers to lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 256.8 yards per game, blocking for 1,000-yard rusher Leonard Fournette, while the school set a record for single-season rushing yards (1,953) and rushing touchdowns (22). The team also led the nation in rushing with an average of 162.8 yards per game and set the school record with four games of 200 or more rushing yards.

As a sophomore, the 29-year-old started all 13 games at right tackle, helping Fournette record his first 1,000-yard rushing season at LSU. Hawkins ranked second among all LSU offensive linemen in total snaps with 834 and earned 43 knockdown blocks. Hawkins won a starting position as a redshirt freshman in 2013, where he started all 13 games and played a total of 808 offensive snaps.

The Riders struggled to protect the quarterback in 2022, allowing a league-worst 77 sacks. Six different players started at offensive tackle, including Terran Vaughn, Andrew Lauderdale, Na’Ty Rodgers, Jamal Campbell, Josiah St. John, and Kooper Richardson.