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Undrafted Oregon Duck Boseko Lokombo looks to the future as free agent
As of Monday afternoon, Boseko Lokombo's football future was open-ended after he went unselected in the National Football League draft.
The linebacker out of Abbotsford's W.J. Mouat Secondary recently wrapped up his NCAA eligibility with the University of Oregon Ducks, and was pegged as a possible late-round selection in last week's NFL talent lottery.
But coming off shoulder surgery in February, the 6'2", 233-pounder did not hear his name called.
The 23-year-old is now in the market for an NFL contract as an undrafted free agent (UDFA).
UDFAs typically face an uphill battle to crack a team's roster, but there's a long list of stars who got their start that way – including Warren Moon, Kurt Warner, Arian Foster, Wes Welker, Priest Holmes and Antonio Gates. The Seattle Seahawks had eight players they acquired as UDFAs contribute to their Super Bowl championship last season.
The Canadian Football League is also an option – Lokombo was selected in the third round of the CFL draft last year by the B.C. Lions. He was the draft's No. 1-rated prospect according to the league's scouting bureau, but lasted until the third round because it was expected he'd be NFL-bound.
Lokombo was a key contributor for the Ducks during their run of success over the past four seasons, during which the program amassed a 47-6 record.
His first three seasons in uniform, Lokombo helped Oregon to prestigious Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowls.
In 2010, the Ducks played in the BCS national championship game, dropping a 22-19 decision to the Auburn Tigers and quarterback Cam Newton, who would go on to become the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and star for the Carolina Panthers.
In 2011, Lokombo's squad faced another future NFL QB in a bowl game – they knocked off current Seattle Seahawks pivot Russell Wilson and the Wisconsin Badgers 45-38 in the Rose Bowl. And in 2012, the Ducks won the Fiesta Bowl, beating Kansas State 35-17.
As a senior in 2013, Lokombo was seventh on the Ducks with 63 tackles, including four in a 30-7 win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30. He was also first on the team in quarterback hurries (seven), second in tackles for a loss (seven) and third in sacks (three).
Lokombo's recovery from shoulder surgery limited him at the NFL combine. He was unable to do the bench press or vertical jump, though he did flash good speed in the 40-yard dash, clocking 4.66 seconds which was tied for sixth-best among linebackers.
Lokombo's journey has been remarkable.
His family moved to Canada from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996 – first to Montreal, then settling in Abbotsford one year later.
Lokombo starred at Mouat in Grade 9 and 10, then transferred to South Eugene High in Oregon for his Grade 11 year in order to draw the attention of NCAA recruiters. By season's end he was the top-rated linebacking recruit in the state. He returned to Mouat for his senior year, and playing on both sides of the ball, he led the province with 32 total touchdowns (22 rushing, eight receiving, plus an interception return and a punt return).