May 7, 2024

2024 Rookie Camp Preview

EDMONTON – Elks football is finally back!

For the first time since late October of last year, the Green and Gold will hit the field at Commonwealth Stadium. Elks rookie camp officially kicks off on Wednesday, with the first practice starting at 9:00 a.m..

General manager Chris Jones and assistant general manager Geroy Simon spent an offseason in search of the next crop of EE talent, and now over 55 Canadian Football League rookies will begin competing for their place on the 2024 roster. Over the years, the Elks have seen future stars emerge from rookie camp — from linebackers like J.C. Sherritt, Dexter McCoil, and Nyles Morgan; to wide receivers like Derel Walker, Brandon Zylstra, and Dillon Mitchell.

Last year saw a pair of upstart defensive backs in Kai Gray and Darius Bratton seize significant roles on the Elks. The duo started all 18 games for the Elks last season, contributing 100-total tackles, three interceptions, and a touchdown. Gray wrapped up the year as the West Division finalist for the CFL’s Most Outstanding rookie and the pair look to be a part of the solution for the Elks defence in the immediate future.

As for the 50-plus rookies that will battle it out from Wednesday to Friday, they will all have an opportunity to earn a spot with the Edmonton Elks. Practices will be open for fans who wish to watch (PRACTICE SCHEDULE HERE). For those who do come out, here are a few names to keep an eye on while watching the next generation of the Green and Gold.

Joel Dublanko | LB | National

The Elks first-overall pick in the 2024 CFL Draft looks primed to have a big role with the team come main camp. The 26-year-old joins the club with pro experience already under his belt, having played a season in the USFL with the Philadelphia Stars last year. The Elks starting weak-side linebacker spot is up-for-grabs after the departure of veteran Adam Konar. If Jones chooses to keep that position as a National designation in the ratio, Dublanko will compete in camp with 2023 second-overall pick Michael Brodrique, and former University of Alberta Golden Bear Josiah Schakel for the role.

Azur Kamara | DL | American

Edmonton’s defensive line will be one of the more hotly contested position groups on the roster once main camp arrives, and Kamara looks to be a name well in the mix. The 25-year-old has the combination of size (6-4) and athleticism (4.59 second forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine) that Jones covets on his defence. The former University of Kansas alumni had signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 and was heavily featured in HBO’s Hard Knocks. He suited up for nine games with the Cowboys in 2021, before a pair of stints with the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Emeke Egbule | DL | American

Egbule will be a name that is vaguely familiar for Elks fans. The 6-2, 245 lb defensive lineman was with briefly with the Elks in 2023, suiting up for three games. A former sixth-round pick by the Los Angeles Chargers, Egbule is another young and quick DL that will look to fill the glut of sack left by the departed A.C. Leonard and Jake Ceresna.

Robert Nkemdiche | DL | American

The third exciting name fighting for a role on the defensive line is former NFL first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche. A five-star recruit entering the College ranks, and one of only four consensus number-one ranked prospect (joining Jadeveon Clowney, Vince Young, and Ernie Sims), Nkemdiche committed to Ole Miss where he spent three seasons with the SEC powerhouse. In his time in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, the 29-year-old recorded 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles over four seasons.

Eteva Mauga-Clements | LB | Global

The American Samoan linebacker was the Elks first-overall pick in the 2024 CFL Global Draft after impressing at the CFL Combine back in March. Mauga-Clements began his University career with Diablo Valley Community College, where he was named defensive player of the year in the Bay 6 Conference. The 24-year-old would transfer to  the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2022, becoming a significant contributor to the Cornhuskers defence and special teams — a similar role he is expected to fulfill as a member of the Elks.

For a look at the full Elks Roster, CLICK HERE.