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Syracuse football alums Kingsley Jonathan, Tyrell Richards are top picks in CFL Drafts

The former SU football players may both head north of the border

NCAA Football: Liberty at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange didn’t have much luck in the NFL Draft this past weekend, but two players got excellent news from Canada’s top football league. Yesterday, the CFL held both of its drafts, one for foreign players and another for Canadian-born ones - and both were topped by former members of the Orange.

First, DL Kingsley Johnson was selected as the Number 1 overall pick in the Global Draft by the Montreal Alouettes. Later in the day, LB Tyrell Richards joined him as the Number 1 selection in the main CFL Draft.

The Buffalo Bills had already signed Jonathan as an undrafted free agent on Saturday. During his five years at SU, Jonathan was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line, collecting 101 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He used his final year of eligibility in 2021.

Jonathan still has the Buffalo deal, so at least for now, he won’t be joining Montreal. Should the Bills end up releasing him and he doesn’t catch on elsewhere in the NFL, the Alouettes will have his rights for future CFL seasons.

Richards meanwhile is an interesting case. The Ontario export entered the transfer portal after the 2020 season, but he did not end up playing in 2021 due to not having enough credits to take with him. (I’m not really sure what the details are there but he was a Sociology major at SU.) Richards tallied 54 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception, and a blocked kick during three seasons with Syracuse. He will immediately join the Alouettes, who start preseason play later this month.

Best of luck to both Cuse alums in their professional football careers!