Riders add Burko, 3 junior players to training camp roster

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have invited U of S quarterback Drew Burko and three other Saskatchewan junior football players to training camp.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have added University of Saskatchewan quarterback Drew Burko to their training camp roster. (Peter Mills/CBC)

After only one season with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, quarterback Drew Burko is heading to his first professional training camp.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have added Burko to their training camp roster.

Jeremy O’Day, the Roughriders' assistant general manager, said this is a great opporunity to develop more local players.

"For Drew, it's an opportunity for him to come in, work with some pro quarterbacks, maybe get some techniques that he can take back to the Huskies and hopefully improve his game," O’Day said.

Burko doesn't count against the Riders' training camp roster because he qualifies for the CFL non-import quarterback developmental program.

"I'm really excited to come out and learn," Burko said. "I think I just need to go out and throw a lot, watch some film, just get in the rhythm of playing football again."

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Kyle Quilan is currently the only Canadian quarterback on a CFL team's roster.

The lack of Canadian quarterbacks in the CFL has some people calling for a new rule to require teams to have at least one Canadian pivot.

"I think it would be great," Burko said. "There are not a lot of Canadian (quarterbacks) in the CFL so it would just be a great opportunity for CIS quarterbacks to get a chance to play in the CFL."

The six-foot-three Burko started five games with the Huskies last season, passing for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Prior to joining the Huskies, Burko won a provincial championship with Saskatoon's Aden Bowman Bears. He also led Saskatchewan to the Football Canada Cup Championship in 2010.

The Riders also invited two Saskatoon Hilltops — running back Andre Lalonde and defensive lineman Brett Pisio — along with Regina Thunder receiver Mitch Thompson.

Several Saskatchewan junior players, including Graig Newman and Zack Evans, have made the Riders' roster after being invited to training camp.

The Riders kick off training camp on June 2 at Saskatoon's Griffiths Stadium.