Saskatchewan’s Lokombo excited to be in position to continue pro football dream

TORONTO —Nelson Lokombo has proven his ability through the U SPORTS ranks over the last number of years, becoming a star defensive back at the University of Saskatchewan. 

But his passion began from watching his two older brothers, Boloy and Boseko, who both began playing before Nelson did. 

“I really couldn’t get my eyes off of it,” Lokombo said. “I remember the day that my parents told me that they had gotten me into a team, I was probably the most excited kid you had ever seen. I was watching videos, just trying to play with pillows and pretend to tackle them. So it was great”

Lokombo started off his football career as a linebacker but quickly made the transition to the backfield in youth football. Things were going well, but in grade 11, he thought that defensive back would be where he fit the best going forward, so he made the switch. That decision has catapulted him to where he is today. 

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Lokombo had played rugby growing up along with track, so he had the athletic acumen and the understanding of how to take a player down in the open field. 

The Abbotsford, BC native had no shortage of suitors when it came to University offers, but after making the rounds and visits, he landed with the University of Saskatchewan. 

“I just fell in love with the coaches when I came for my visit,” Lokombo said. “I knew that this was a place where I could focus on my education and focus on being on the team. The culture was there and I felt like I was a good fit for that locker room and in the system. I also knew a few players on the team prior to going there.”

He was named the Huskies’ Rookie of the Year in 2017 after posting 38 tackles, 1 interception, five pass breakups, and a fumble recovery. 

That production continued over the next two years as well. Following the 2019 season, Lokombo was named a Canada West All-Star and First-Team U SPORTS All-Canadian on top of winning the Presidents’ Trophy as the best stand-up defender in the country. 

During that 2019 season, he finished with a team-high five interceptions to go along with 39 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, four breakups, and a forced fumble.

Despite having a full year off in 2020, Lokombo still sits as the 19th-ranked prospect and sixth-best defensive back in the latest Scouting Bureau Rankings. 

Lokombo has been training with Bo leading up to the combine and the draft and has been able to pick the brain of BC Lions’ linebacker.

“Being able to watch both of my brothers play at high levels, it ingrained in me that I could do this too. I could be playing professional ball,” Lokombo said. “Bo and Boloy were really crucial in me falling in love with the sport. Bo has sat me down and talked me through certain concepts and keys, and that’s really helped me through my development into University ball too.”

On top of being one of the best defensive backs of this class, Lokombo also has the added benefit of being versatile as a member of the secondary. He played both field and boundary corner before being moved to boundary half for the backstretch of his collegiate career. 

So when he makes it to the CFL, he’ll have the opportunity to make an impact in a number of different spots for a franchise. 

Nelson plays that same hard-hitting style as Bo, and there might even be a possibility that we see the brothers play on the same team at some point down the road. But for now, Nelson is just looking forward to finding out where his CFL home will be for 2021 and beyond. 

“It would mean a lot. It would just go to show all of the hard work I put into every game and the journey behind my football career paid off,” Lokombo said. “It really just makes me excited because I get to continue playing the sport I love and a sport that I’m extremely passionate about. I just look forward to that and I’m glad to be in that position right now.”

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