NATCHITOCHES – Three former Northwestern State football players signed or extended contracts with Canadian Football League teams for the 2021 season.
All-American receiver Jazz Ferguson will make his first appearance in the CFL as a member of the BC Lions after a preseason stint with the Seattle Seahawks and one pandemic-shortened season with the XFL’s Dallas Renegades.
Receiver Shakeir Ryan (Edmonton Football Team) and defensive lineman Obinna Iheoma (Toronto Argonauts) each extended their contracts with their respective teams.
Ferguson continues a professional football career that placed him in the preseason spotlight in Seattle, catching a touchdown in the first week and totaling 119 yards in four exhibition contests in 2019 before spending half the regular season on the practice squad.
He landed with the Renegades, scooping nine passes in four appearances before the pandemic hit.
Ferguson, the Southland Conference and Louisiana Offensive Player of the Year in 2018, set five records in his one NSU season, including 1,117 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns (single-season records).
Ryan and Iheoma were on CFL rosters before the COVID-19 pandemic, and their respective teams resigned the former Demons.
Ryan, the Lafayette native who spent time in NFL camps with the Los Angeles Rams and the then-Washington Redskins, will suit up for his fourth CFL team.
The return specialist accumulated 691 yards on 49 attempts (both kick and punt returns) with a punt return touchdown with the Montreal Alouettes in 2019.
Ryan has more than 1,000 combined return yards in his career, which included stints with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and BC Lions.
He stamped his mark on the NSU record books, sitting in second place with 140 career receptions.
Iheoma signed with Toronto before the 2020 season and is expected to make his professional debut when the preseason begins in late May.
At NSU, Iheoma established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the Southland Conference, tallying eight sacks in each of his two seasons.