Ticats Lawrence, Banks win East Division awards (& an update on the QB situation)

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Bryan Hall pondered the question but nor for long: would teammate Simoni Lawrence, newly minted as the East Division’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player, be any more loquacious after winning the award?

Nah.

“The best thing about Simoni is that he does his best to maximize his loudness regardless of the situation,” Hall said. “I would be highly surprised if there was more he could possibly say.”

Lawrence – recently voted by player’s around the CFL as the league’s best trash talker – has backed up his words with some stellar play this season. The 26-year-old started all 18 games at the weak-side linebacker spot and set career highs in defensive tackles (80) and sacks (5), while adding two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

He was named East Division All-Star earlier this week and was Hamilton’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the second consecutive season.

Return man Brandon Banks also received the nod as the East’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. Just 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, Banks led the league with four punt return touchdowns while posting 2,073 all-purpose yards (good enough for third in the CFL.) He also registered the first-ever score off a missed single-point convert, going 127 yards to the end zone against Ottawa last week.

The Most Outstanding Player awards are decided by 87 voters from the Football Reporters of Canada, including eight from Hamilton, and head coaches from across the league.

Former Ticat quarterback Henry Burris, now with the Redblacks, will square off against Calgary pivot Bo Levi Mitchell for the league’s Most Outstanding Player Award. The other nominees include: linebackers Adam Bighill of the B.C. Lions (defensive player); Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman and Ottawa Redblacks receiver Brad Sinopoli (Canadian); B.C.’s Jovan Olafioye and Ottawa’s SirVincent Rogers (lineman); Calgary Stampeders kicker Rene Paredes (special-teams); and receivers Derel Walker of the Edmonton Eskimos and Vidal Hazelton of the Toronto Argonauts (rookie).

Earlier on Thursday, Ottawa’s Rick Campbell and Edmonton’s Chris Jones were named finalists for coach-of-the-year honours.

The CFL will unveil its top individual performers Nov. 26 in Winnipeg. Lawrence and Banks will be there and Hall may be looking for an all-expense paid trip.

“He definitely needs to make sure he looks out for the people that helped get him there,” Hall joked.

“We’re proud of him because not only does he get recognized but it represents our team, too.”

•••

Jeremiah or Jacory remains an open question: or so says Kent Austin.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach said after Wednesday’s practice that he still hasn’t made a decision on who will start at quarterback for Sunday’s East Semi-Final match up against the Toronto Argonauts. Masoli (that’d be Jeremiah) took all the first team reps with offence but Austin said it could still be Harris (that’d be Jacory.)

“Neremiah took the first team reps today but, like last week, we might switch it up Friday then make the decision,” Austin said.

Notes: The team moved their 11 a.m. practice indoors to Players Paradise in Stoney Creek to avoid windy conditions that started around noon… defensive back Cleshawn Page, who started at the boundary corner, the last two weeks, missed practice… receiver Terrell Sinkfield sat out the latter portion of the session in a move Austin said was “precautionary.”

Drew Edwards is the founder of 3DownNation but has since wandered off. Beard in the photo not exactly as shown.