In the 2019 CFL season, the Ottawa Redblacks went 3-15, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2014 inaugural year. Even-though they weren’t able to make their way to the Grey Cup like the fans are used to, the Redblacks’ roster was filled with talent. Whether it was returning veterans like Brad Sinopoli or younger stars like John Crockett, the team discovered a lot of great players that could make an impact in the future.
Right now its still up in the air when the next CFL season will be played but when the Ottawa Redblacks are back in action they’ll be able to count on Rafael Araujo-Lopes. After being signed mid-season by Ottawa Araujo-Lopes was able to play in two CFL games out of the slot. Taking over for the injured Caleb Holley, Lopes had 6 catches on 8 targets going for 57 yards while even rushing the ball for 5 yards on two carries. In the two games played, he even took part on special teams to take over for DeVonte Dedmon while he was hurt. Taking on the return role he returned 3 punts and 4 kickoffs for a total 117 yards.
Unfortunately Araujo-Lopes suffered a couple injuries last season and was only able to play in those two games but as you look more into his stats he put up in those 120 minutes of football, he had shown a lot of potential. With 15 touches (7.5/game) he was able to gain an all-purpose 229 yards (114.5/game) which gives him just over 15 yards per touch.
Getting those kinds of numbers isn’t something he is new to. Before coming to the CFL Lopes, the Florida native played 3 seasons at the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, Lopes was a playmaker on offense and special teams, playing 39 games and gaining over 1,000 all-purpose yards.
Looking more in depth… Lopes touched the ball, whether it was a catch, run or return 124 times, turning it into 1,293 yards and 7 touchdowns. Splitting that into the 3 seasons, he averaged 431 all-purpose yards a season and over 10 yards a touch. His best season of them all was in 2017 when he led the University in receiving; he caught for 531 yards on 43 receptions that year.
As seen from the numbers he put up both last season and in University, the 24 year old receiver has a shot at being a starter in the Redblacks offense. He plays a similar role as both Nic Demski and Anthony Coombs, so if you really want to know what he’ll be doing. Watch what they’ve done over the last couple of seasons in the CFL because it looks like Araujo-Lopes, when Dedmon is off the field will be doing a lot for the Redblacks in the future.
For more on Rafael Araujo-Lopes and other Redblacks players, visit https://lilzbigr.blog/