Brandon Banks among six Ticats named East all-stars

It didn’t take long for Speedy to make the all-star team.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Brandon Banks, long known as an electrifying return man, was named an East Division all-star for the fourth consecutive season on Wednesday but was honoured as a receiver for the first time.

The 29-year-old Banks registered 1,011 receiving yards on the season but had just 58 of those through the first eight contests. His last 10 games – which coincided will the arrival of new head coach June Jones – Banks averaged over 95 yards per game.

Also receiving East Division nods from Hamilton: receiver Luke Tasker, offensive lineman Ryan Bomben, linebacker Larry Dean, defensive back Richard Leonard, and kicker Sergio Castillo.

This is the third time Tasker and Bomben have notched divisional all-star honours, while Dean, Leonard and Castillo were all selected for the first time. Hamilton’s Jalen Saunders, the third member of the Ticats to register at least 1,000 receiving yards this season, was left off the squad which is selected by local and national media as well as the head coaches from the East Division.

The Toronto Argonauts led the way with ten selections while the Ticats tied with the Ottawa Redblacks with six apiece. Montreal had three.

Over in the West, the Calgary Stampeders, tops in the West at 13-4-1 and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, second at 12-6 had seven representatives each.

Five former Ticats were also named as all-stars across the league. They include Ottawa receiver Greg Ellingson and kicker Brett Maher as well as  Toronto defensive backs Rico Murray Cassius Vaughn as well as Saskatchewan DB Ed Gainey.

Leonard, who is also a leading candidate for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie award, took to Instagram to celebrate his win.

“It’s a blessing to be able to share my accomplishments this year with my Ticats family,” Hopefully this is the first of many. Blessed beyond measure and very grateful.”

Divisional award winners will be announced on Thursday with league awards handed out during the Grey Cup.

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