Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Nelson Lokombo is beginning a new path at safety in his old stomping grounds at Griffiths Stadium.
One of the biggest competitions at training camp for the Roughriders is safety, where Lokombo is one of the contenders for the job.
The former University of Saskatchewan Huskie is entering his third season with the Roughriders after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2021 CFL Draft.
It was a tough start in the professional ranks for Lokombo. On the opening day of camp in 2021, the defensive back was among a group of players that tore their Achilles. He felt the injury was a learning experience.
“Last year I was able to make a comeback and I was able to get my feet wet a little bit.”
He added that he will be adding towards his confidence with another season on the field.
In 12 games last year, the defensive back recorded 13 tackles and forced a fumble.
Lokombo will be switching positions in the green and white secondary in 2023. He will be moving to safety after playing cornerback. The 24-year-old feels he can be a versatile weapon in the secondary.
“I can be used anyway the coaches need me to play”
An advantage to moving to the middle of the secondary is the potential of creating according to Lokombo.
One player who will be competing against the former Huskie for the starting position is Jayden Dalke. Despite being engaged in a battle for playing time, the Abbotsford B.C. product thinks there is a strong bond between the two teammates.
“He’s super smart instinctive football player and he also plays multiple positions. ”
On Sunday, Dalke opened up as the safety with the team’s first-string defence, but Head Coach Craig Dickenson also noted the depth chart is far from being settled.
An advantage that Lokombo will hold over many of his teammates in May is being familiar with the campus of the University of Saskatchewan. For him, a return to Saskatoon is always an enjoyable experience.
“It always feels great to be back where it all started.”
The trip down memory lane is a good one for the former Huskie.
“Being in dorms is really cool, because I was there in my first year and we have lunch at Marquis Hall, that’s where we used to go, my first training camp with the U of S.”
Apparently, the food at Marquis Hall made a lasting impression on Lokombo as he noted it’s one of the special treats that Saskatoon possesses.
“Marqius Hall has the best food, variety that I know of.”
Now the defensive back is hoping to create a lasting impact at safety for the Roughriders.