Fullbacks are people too: Riders sign American FB Clint Ratkovich

Photo courtesy: Scott Walstrom/NIU Athletics

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed the equivalent of a CFL unicorn to their training camp roster, bringing in American fullback Clint Ratkovich.

The six-foot-one, 220-pound Swiss army knife was regarded as one of the top available fullbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft but went unselected after tearing his ACL during a private pre-draft workout with the Green Bay Packers. He was signed to the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad following his recovery that December and appeared in three preseason games the following year, but was waived despite earning an 83.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

Ratkovich spent his final collegiate season at Northern Illinois University in 2021, playing what they dubbed the “superback” position. He was a third-team All-MAC selection after carrying 98 times for 448 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games. He also caught 13 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, drawing comparisons to San Francisco 49ers’ All-Pro standout Kyle Juszczyk.

The 26-year-old spent his first four seasons at Western Illinois University, earning first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference honours in 2018 and 2019. In 35 games with the Leathernecks, he rushed 97 times for 429 yards and three touchdowns, while catching 128 passes for 1,204 yards and 10 majors.

The Riders are clearly opting for a power running game in 2024, signing East Division all-star A.J. Ouellette on Tuesday and bringing back Frankie Hickson for a third year. They will begin the 2024 season on Saturday, June 8 when they travel to Edmonton to take on the Elks.