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Riderville Roundup – February 18

Published: Sunday, Feb 18th 2024, 12:02pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD

 

PLAN THE PARADE ROUTE!! THE RIDERS WON FREE AGENCY AND ALSO THE GREY CUP!!

 

Okay, maybe 8 other fanbases are sarcastically saying that right now about the green and white, but Rider Nation, BE EXCITED about the team that Jeremy O’Day and Corey Mace are putting together! With all the moves in free agency made official this past week, you can see the improvement on the roster and you should feel pretty good about 2024. Let’s recap those signings.

 

On offense, the Riders got two huge upgrades on the O-Line in Jermarcus Hardrick and Ryan Sceviour. Hardrick takes over at Right Tackle and Sceviour most likely at Right Guard. These moves give the Riders the option to start 4 Canadians on the O-Line with Peter Godber at Center, Logan Ferland at Left Guard and Philip Blake at Left Tackle. The flexibility the team has with the ratio now is massive.

 

Adding to the run game this season is one of my favourite players in the entire league, A.J. Ouellette. I had the chance to chat briefly with him at The Rider Store during his meet and greet and he’s so down to earth. Rider fans, not only will you love him on the field, you’ll love him off of it too. Plus his marketability is through the roof! 

 

 

The Riders also signed a running back/fullback hybrid in Clint Ratkovich. Whether he makes the roster or not, we do see that the team is putting a priority on running the ball and taking some pressure off of QB1 Trevor Harris.

 

On the other side of the ball, Defensive Tackle Micah Johnson was re-signed and pairing him with Anthony Lanier II in the middle of the D-Line is going to allow the ends to get after the QB. 

One of those ends will be new to Riderville in Malik Carney. He comes over from Hamilton after a 5 sack season in 2023. The Riders also brought in Defensive End Elijah Ponder, who will compete for a rotational role with a plethora of others in Training Camp. 

 

In the middle of the defense, gone is Larry Dean after a few solid years in green and white and replacing him is another star in Jameer Thurman. Combined with newly signed LB Adam Auclair and star in the making C.J. Reavis, the Riders linebacking group is in great shape headed into the 2024 season. 

For depth, the Riders re-signed Canadian Linebacker Justin Herdman-Reed and also brought back his brother Jordan Herdman-Reed

 

In the defensive secondary, the Riders officially welcomed Cornerback Jalon Edwards-Cooper from the BC Lions. Last year with the Lions, he gave up exactly ZERO touchdowns (according to Pro Football Focus), so if you haven’t heard of JEC before, it’s because he doesn’t get beat! A GREAT under the radar signing for the Riders.

 

 

In other Rider related news, a couple of other former Riders made headlines as they signed elsewhere in the CFL.

Quarterback Jake Dolegala signed with the BC Lions and this one has a lot of Rider Nation upset. I’m seeing a TON of comments from fans about how they’d rather have Dolegala than Mason Fine as the backup to Trevor Harris (I’m also one of them), but I don’t think the loss is as big as some are making it out to be. 

The “L”innipeg Blue Bombers (thank you Riders social media team!) not only allowed the Riders to take OL Jermarcus Hardrick from them, but they took OL Eric Lofton in return. Not that Lofton is bad by any means, but he also wasn’t good when given the chance with the Riders last season. This is a tradeoff I’d take 100 times out of 100.

And while it was reported that Running Back Jamal Morrow was going to sign with the Calgary Stampeders, TSN’s Farhan Lalji reported that there was issues with his physical, so he has not signed anywhere as of yet. 

 

Finally, shoutout to everyone across this great country of ours for showing up and donating to the CFL Fans Fight Cancer meet and greets on Saturday night. BC has set a goal of $40,000 for this year for CFL Fans Fight Cancer and we are well on our way to exceeding that goal! Thank you Cindy and Doug for setting up the one in Regina, it was nice to see some of Rider Nation ahead of the season to talk some football!

 

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