The player who has the most takedowns in one CFL season for a Canadian has tackled three more honours, and it’s hard to argue he doesn’t deserve them.
Alex Singleton, who has taken a big step forward leading the Calgary Stampeders defence this season from the middle linebacker position, is the team’s nominee for most outstanding defensive player, most outstanding Canadian and most outstanding player.
Singleton is a unanimous selection for both defence and Canadian honours and rightly so, as his 121 tackles so far this season is also the most by a Stampeders player in history. He trails only B.C. Lions double nominee Solomon Elimimian in that category.
Considering he’s the anchor player in the best defence in the CFL, Singleton’s season might be more impressive than Elimimian, who was a rare defensive player to win the MOP award a few years ago.
It will likely be a close race in the defensive category, but there isn’t a great chance Singleton picks up the West Division nomination for top Canadian, a league award that has gone to offensive players in 10 of the last 11 years. No Canadian linebacker has won the award since Mike O’Shea did it for the Argonauts back in 1999, but it’s O’Shea’s player in Winnipeg who is the frontrunner now. It’s hard to argue against what running back Andrew Harris has done, seeing as how his chase for 1,000 yards rushing AND receiving fell just short.
The Stamps other nominees are Roy Finch (special teams), Ucambre Williams (offensive line) and Marken Michel (rookie).
Among them, Finch should have the best chance of representing the Stamps on awards night in Ottawa. If he is the lone rep, it would be strange considering the Stamps will finish the season with the most wins again, but this team is solid top to bottom without many breakout individual performances this year.
Finch is the exception but he had an up and down season but when he was on the field he was deadly for opposing teams to contain. He came back from an early drug suspension and scored three times on punt returns while posting a 16.8-yard average in that category, easily the tops in the league among players who do the job regularly. He also leads the league with a 26-yard average on kickoff returns.
Michel had a great season in the receiving corps despite only starting 11 games and playing in 13. His 19.0-yard average leads the league among players with more than three catches. His breakout game came in Week 6 when he had six receptions for 190 yards and a touchdown. He missed time due to injury near the end of the year and has 41 receptions for 780 yards and three TDs playing mostly when others were hurt.
Williams stepped into a new role this spring and has thrived as the Stampeders centre. He has started all 17 games this season as the rare international player to take on the centre position. This is always a crapshoot to predict as reputation usually wins out, but Williams is the nominee for the line that allowed the fewest sacks in the CFL.