On July 11th, Rafael Araujo-Lopes was signed by the Ottawa Redblacks. Nearly a full month ago he was signed, and now he will play. Due to injuries of Caleb Holley and R.J Harris, the receivers group needed an addition, and the team brought up Rafael to be that addition.
After spending a month with the team’s practice squad, Rafael is expected to be familiar with the playbook and players as he takes his first professional start this Friday (tomorrow) at 10:00 in Edmonton.
Getting to know Rafael
Rafael Araujo-Lopes who is born and raised in Kissimmee, Florida is 23 years old. Although he is new in red and black, he is not new to football. Rafael has played football most of his life and spent three seasons with the University of Pittsburgh.
At the University of Pittsburgh, Araujo-Lopes played a total of 26 games where he’d catch 83 balls for 947 yards and 6 touchdowns while rushing the ball 16 times for 66 yards. Outside of his offensive play, Rafael used his speed on special teams also where he’d return kicks for Pitt. On specials, he would return 20 punts for 179 yards where one of his returns would go 86 yards for a touchdown. On kickoff returns, he’d have 5 for 132, his longest ending up at 69 yards.
In his days at Pitt, he played some very good teams, and he stood up tall against them putting on a show at a few of them. Some of his biggest games came under the lights against great teams.
On September 1st, 2018 Pittsburgh faced off against Albany, where Araujo-Lopes would have a monster game. He finished the game with 7 touches for 70 even yards. 2 rushes for 17 yards, 3 catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns along with 2 returns for 2 yards.
That might sound like a great outing, but he had way more games where that came from. In the last two seasons at Pitt, Rafael had 10 games where he’d produce 50+ receiving yards. To go with the receiving yards, Araujo-Lopes also had an 86 yard punt return touchdown against the Undefeated UCF Knights in 2018.