Riders remove Saskatchewan Huskies QB Mason Nyhus from negotiation list after he turns down contract offer

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have removed University of Saskatchewan quarterback Mason Nyhus from their exclusive negotiation list after he turned down a contract offer from the team because of personal and professional ambitions elsewhere.

The Riders originally claimed the CFL rights for the Regina-born QB on November 24, shortly before he led the Huskies in their second straight Vanier Cup appearance. The move allowed them to fully evaluate the undrafted free agent and make a determination on whether to offer him a contract, without the risk of losing him to another team.

The organization removed him from the list on Wednesday, January 11.

A Michael A. Riffel Catholic High School graduate, Nyhus arrived on campus in Saskatoon in 2016. After initially redshirting and spending two more years as a backup, he took over as the team’s starter in 2019, throwing for 2,300 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in nine games.

After the coronavirus pandemic caused the 2020 season to be cancelled, Nyhus took a major leap forward in 2021. In ten games, he threw for 2,686 yards with 22 touchdowns against four interceptions on his way to being named a Canada West conference all-star. Saskatchewan advanced to the national championship for the first time since 2006 as a result, losing to the Western University Mustangs.

Despite that success, CFL teams showed little interest in the six-foot-one, 223-pound passer. He did not receive a National Combine invite and went unselected in the 2022 CFL Draft, ultimately returning to school for a fifth year.

Following the graduation of star running back Adam Machart, the Huskies’ offence shifted the focus onto their veteran signal-caller in 2022. Nyhus threw for 3,829 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games — leading the nation in passing yards per game. He was named a Canada West all-star for the second year in a row and earned the conference’s Most Valuable Player award, becoming a finalist for the Hec Crighton Trophy. He was beaten out for the distinguished award by Laval University receiver Kevin Mital while settling for a second-team All-Canadian selection.

In his final collegiate game on Saturday, November 26, Nyhus suffered his second-straight Vanier Cup defeat at the hands of Mital’s Rouge et Or. He completed 34-of-43 passes for 344 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the loss.

Through 51 career games with the Huskies, Nyhus completed 739-of-1,155 passes (63.9 percent) for 9,649 yards with 66 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. A graduate of the Edwards School of Business who is now pursuing a career in education, he was named an Academic All-Canadian on four occasions and finishes his U of S career having never lost a game at home.

Nyhus’ growth as a passer over his final few seasons has intrigued scouts. The three-down league experienced a Canadian quarterbacking renaissance this season led by budding superstar Nathan Rourke and rookie first-round pick Tre Ford, who became the first U Sports product to start and win a regular season CFL game since 1985.

Signing Nyhus would have given a disgruntled fan base a homegrown storyline to rally around. Instead, Saskatchewan will look elsewhere to fill up its quarterback room.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.