Western Mustangs QB Chris Merchant wins Hec Crighton Trophy

Western Mustangs quarterback Chris Merchant won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding player in USports football

Merchant, a fifth-year senior from Calgary, was a constant presence throughout Western’s undefeated regular season, the third consecutive year the Mustangs have accomplished that feat. The Kinesiology major is the definition of a dual threat with his ability to beat defences both through the air or with his legs.

Merchant followed up an impressive 2018 by completing 159-of-232 pass attempts this season (68.5 percent) for 2,378 yards and 14 touchdowns. But Merchant was just as dangerous when he called his own number, rushing the ball a career-high 77 times for another 438 yards and six majors.

The Mustangs’ leader hit his stride in his team’s 40-23 win over Queen’s in Week 2. Merchant’s arsenal was on full display as he passed for a season-high 355 yards with two touchdowns, while adding another score on the ground. He would close the season with a dominant stretch of play, racking up over 1,000 passing yards and nine total touchdowns in the final three wins of the regular season over Windsor, Waterloo, and Ottawa, respectively. Merchant would finish the year topping all OUA quarterbacks in pass efficiency at 167.7.

Statistics aside, one of the most impressive aspects of Merchant’s season was an ability to guide an offence that featured several young players on the offensive line, as well as a changing of the guard in the backfield. The poise and veteran leadership he had amassed in Western’s long postseason runs in recent years were imperative to the team manufacturing yet another undefeated campaign.

Merchant can now add Hec Crighton Trophy winner and first team All-Canadian to a list of accomplishments that includes OUA MVP (2019), second team OUA all-star status in 2018, the Dalt White Trophy as Yates Cup MVP, and Mitchell Bowl MVP (both in 2018), and winning the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy as Vanier Cup MVP (2017).

“Chris Merchant has had an outstanding season and career as our quarterback at Western. He has made a significant impact on our football program at Western. He has been an outstanding athlete, student and teammate at Western. He really is the ideal of what we want in our U SPORTS student-athletes. He quite simply is a winner,” head coach Greg Marshall said in a statement.

“His work ethic and competitive spirit has been an inspiration to our team. His record as our starting quarterback is an incredible 39-3. He has been an academic All-Canadian, our team MVP, OUA all-star, Yates Cup, Mitchel Bowl and Vanier Cup MVP. He is truly deserving of this award and will go down as one of the best student-athletes to ever play at Western.”

Marshall, who guided the Mustangs to back-to-back Vanier Cup appearances in 2017 and 2018, joined his star pivot in the winners’ circle, meriting the Frank Tindall Trophy as coach of the year for the second straight season and for the third time in his illustrious career.

Other major award recipients included Saskatchewan defensive back Nelson Lokombo, named the stand-up Defensive Player of the year (Presidents’ Trophy); McGill defensive tackle Andrew Seinet-Spaulding, voted the outstanding down lineman (J.P. Metras Trophy); Concordia receiver Jeremy Murphy, who earned top rookie honours (Peter Gorman Trophy); York free safety Jacob Janke, who was recognized for his excellence in football, academics and citizenship (Russ Jackson Award); as well as Regina’s Greg Nesbitt, selected by Football Canada as the Volunteer Assistant Coach of the year (Gino Fracas Award).

2019 first-team All-Canadians

Among first-team all-Canadians, six are returnees from last year’s top unit. The list includes Laval linemen Samuel Thomassin (guard) and Kétel Assé (tackle) and Waterloo receiver Tyler Ternowski on offence, as well as Manitoba tackle Evan Machibroda, Montreal halfback Marc-Antoine Dequoy and Calgary corner Deane Leonard on defence.

FIRST TEAM

Offence

Pos. First Name Last Name School Elig. Hometown Program

Centre Connor Berglof Saskatchewan 3 Saskatoon, Sask. Arts & Science

Guard Samuel Thomassin Laval 5 Quebec City, Que. Management

Guard Mattland Riley Saskatchewan 4 Melfort, Sask. Engineering

Tackle Carter O’Donnell Alberta 4 Red Deer, Alta. Education

Tackle Kétel Assé Laval 4 Saint-Marc, Haïti Sports intervention

Receiver Tyler Ternowski Waterloo 4 Hamilton, Ont. Economics

Receiver James Tyrrell Concordia 5 Dorval, Que. Finance

Receiver Jalen Philpot Calgary 2 Delta, B.C. Open Studies

Receiver Glodin Mulali Acadia 3 Moncton, N.B. Applied Science

Running Back Levondre Gordon Wilfrid Laurier 5 Mississauga, Ont. Sociology

Running Back Adam Machart Saskatchewan 3 Saskatoon, Sask. Arts & Science

Quarterback Chris Merchant Western 5 Calgary, Alta. Kinesiology

Defence

Pos. First Name Last Name School Elig. Hometown Program

Defensive Tackle Andrew Seinet-Spaulding McGill 4 Pierefonds, Que. Social Work

Defensive Tackle Evan Machibroda Saskatchewan 5 Saskatoon, Sask. Engineering

Defensive End Réshaan Davis Ottawa 4 Oshawa, Ont. Chemistry

Defensive End Derek Dufault Manitoba 5 Winnipeg, Man. Science

Linebacker Jack Cassar Carleton 4 Mississauga, Ont. Business

Linebacker Kean Harelimana Laval 2 Kigali, Rwanda Consumer Relations Management

Linebacker Nick Cross UBC 2 Regina, Sask. Arts

Free Safety Jayden Dalke Alberta 4 Leduc, Alta. Arts

Half Back Marc-Antoine Dequoy Montreal 4 Île Bizard, Que. Video Game Studies

Half Back Nelson Lokombo Saskatchewan 3 Abbotsford, B.C. Kinesiology

Corner Bleska Kambamba Western 4 London, Ont. Kinesiology

Corner Deane Leonard Calgary 3 Calgary, Alta. Business

Special Teams

Pos. First Name Last Name School Elig. Hometown Program

Punter Marc Liegghio Western 4 Woodbridge, Ont. King’s College

Place Kicker Marc Liegghio Western 4 Woodbridge, Ont. King’s College

Kick Returner Clark Barnes Guelph 2 Brampton, Ont. Arts

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