REGINA -- Riderville.com takes a closer look at the current roster by position and breaks down the team’s outlook heading into the 2013 season.
In this week’s entry they preview the defensive line of the Green & White.
The defensive line is led by non-import veteran, Keith Shologan. Entering his sixth season with the Riders, Shologan is a mainstay at defensive tackle. Last season, the Spruce Grove, AB native registered 22 tackles and tied a career high with three quarterback sacks. Since becoming a regular in 2009, Shologan has missed only three regular season games due to injury, appearing in 69 of 72 contests.
Vocal leader, Brent Hawkins, will return for his fourth season with the Riders. After missing the entire 2011 season due to injury, ‘Hawk’ played 14 games in 2012 recording 24 tackles, four quarterback sacks and two fumble recoveries. His energetic in-your-face approach forces opposing linemen to play full speed every down and can cause tensions to run high as the game wears on.
Recently re-signed veteran Tearrius George will return for his third season with the Riders and sixth in the CFL. The versatile veteran appeared in all 18 regular season games and essentially played every position on the defensive line through the 2012 season. His six quarterback sacks shared for the team lead while he also totaled 18 tackles.
Five year CFL veteran, Odell Willis, appears headed towards free agency and is likely to entertain all NFL try-out offers before looking to negotiate a CFL contract. The Riders acquired Willis from Winnipeg in a trade completed March 23, 2012. He tied for the team lead with six quarterback sacks last season.
Mick Williams, is set to return for his second season with the green and white. After spending time on the practice roster, Williams made his Rider debut week six versus Edmonton. The 26-year-old totalled 11 tackles and one quarterback sack in nine regular season appearances. Recorded as knockdowns, Williams has also shown a knack for getting a hand on opposing field goal attempts as twice last season he deflected kicks wide. Second year Rider,
Jay Alford, will return to provide size to the interior. The 6’3” 300 pound tackle is valuable against the run. Last year, the 29-year-old played ten regular season games recording 11 defensive tackles, two quarterback sacks and one pass knockdown. Alford also spent time as the short-snapper on field goal and convert attempts.
Third year Rider, David Veikune played nine regular season games in 2012 finishing the season with eight defensive tackles and three quarterback sacks. At 27 years old, with a good combination of size and speed, Veikune could challenge for a more consistent spot in the rotation as he adds another year of experience to his resume.
Local product, Zack Evans had an impressive 2012 training camp and pre-season and earned his way on to the opening night roster. A first year pro at only 22 years old, Evans was in and out of the lineup but managed to see action in eight regular season games recording two tackles.