Riders sign All-American OL D’Mitri Emmanuel, two others

Florida State offensive lineman D'Mitri Emmanuel (71) before the start of an NCAA college football game against Duquesne Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 47-7. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have added a trio of players to their training camp roster, including American offensive lineman D’mitri Emmanuel, American defensive back Eric Smith, and Canadian offensive lineman Ryan Berta.

Emmanuel joins the Riders after playing a whopping seven seasons in the NCAA, the final two of which came at Florida State University. The six-foot-two, 309-pound guard started 27 games as a Seminole and helped protect ACC Player of the Year Jordan Travis en route to being the top offence in the conference in 2023. He was named first-team All-ACC for his efforts and earned fourth-team All-American honours from Phil Steele, building off a third-team All-ACC campaign in 2022.

Prior to transferring to Florida State, Emmanuel spent five seasons at the University of Northern Carolina at Charlotte. He started 24 games for the 49ers from 2019 to 2021, seeing action at four different spots and earning third-team All-Conference USA honours on two occasions.

The versatile lineman went unselected in the 2024 NFL Draft and will come directly to Canada to begin his professional career.

Smith played 37 games over four seasons at Florida A&M University, tallying 109 defensive tackles, eight tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions, 18 pass deflections and two forced fumbles.  He was named first-team All-SWAC as a senior in 2023 and helped his team claim an HBCU national championship. Despite running a reported 4.34-second forty-yard dash at the HBCU Combine, the five-foot-nine cornerback did not receive an NFL opportunity.

Berta went unselected in the 2024 CFL Draft on Tuesday, despite winning the bench press at the CFL Combine in Winnipeg with 30 reps. The six-foot-three, 302-pound centre has appeared in 35 games over five seasons for Queen’s University, making 22 starts at centre. The Hamilton, Ont. native has been named an OUA all-star in each of the past two seasons and was a second-team All-Canadian honouree in 2023.

The Riders will open rookie camp on Wednesday, May 8. Their 2024 regular season begins Saturday, June 8 when they visit the Edmonton Elks at Commonwealth Stadium.