Cornish Trophy — awarded to top Canadian in NCAA Football — finalists unveiled for 2019-2020 season

The Cornish Trophy is annually awarded to the top Canadian in NCAA Football.

For the 2019-2020 season the hardware will be awarded virtually May 6 at 10 a.m. pacific time/1 p.m. eastern time on the Canadian Football Hall of Fame site (CFHOF.ca) and via Football Canada on YouTube live.

The new date and method of presenting the award is due to travel and physical distancing measures associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The 30-minute award show will be hosted by the crew of TSN’s Krown Gridiron Nation as they profile the finalists for the award. They will be joined by Canadian Football Hall of Famer Jon Cornish who will present the award. There will be an interview with the winner of the award.

Here is a look at the five finalists:

Chase Claypool,
Notre Dame Fighting Irish,
senior, receiver – Abbotsford, BC

The graduate of Abbotsford Secondary School became a rare starter in his freshman season at Notre Dame. The 2019 season established Claypool as Notre Dame’s MVP, in addition to his MVP award in the Camping World Bowl win over Iowa State.

He led the Irish with 66 receptions for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns, playing in all 13 games. He graduates from the Notre Dame program seventh in career receptions with 150. His 13 touchdowns rank as sixth best in a season by an Irish player. He earned the game ball against Navy with four TD receptions. Claypool was drafted 49th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2020 NFL draft.


Neville Gallimore,
Oklahoma Sooners,
senior, defensive lineman – Ottawa, Ontario

The Canada Prep Academy grad was selected in the fourth round, 82nd overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2020 NFL draft.

The first-team All-Big 12 pick, Gallimore started all 14 games at defensive tackle for Oklahoma in 2019 making 30 tackles, with a career-best 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, while forcing two fumbles. All of this was achieved while being one of the most double-teamed linemen in the nation.

Chuba Hubbard,
Oklahoma State Cowboys, sophomore, running back – Sherwood Park, Alberta

The Bev Facey grad and former Football Alberta team member the led the NCAA FBS in rushing with 2,094 yards, 161.1 rushing yards per game, 200-yard rushing games and all-purpose yards per game. Hubbard was a unanimous All-American, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and one of three national finalists for the Doak Walker Award presented to the NCAA’s top running back. Hubbard finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, the third best finish for a Canadian.

Hubbard tied for third in the FBS and first among all players from Power Five conferences in rushing touchdowns. He led the Big 12 in both points scored and total touchdowns. He was the only player in the Big 12 to average more than 100 rushing yards per game, Hubbard’s 161.1 yards per game were 64.6 yards per game more than anyone else in the conference. His season total of 2,094 rushing yards ranks 16th in FBS history and third in Big 12 Conference history. He rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his last 11 games, which was the longest active streak in the nation. His 2,094 rushing yards set the second-highest single-season total in school history, trailing only Barry Sanders’ Heisman Trophy season of 1988.

Amen Ogbongbemiga,
Oklahoma State Cowboys, junior, linebacker – Calgary, Alberta

The 2019 season was a breakout year for the Notre Dame Pride grad out of Calgary. Ogbongbemiga has developed as a top sideline-to-sideline linebacker with outstanding speed with the ability to pursue in the open field. He is a three-time first-team Big 12 academic team selection, including the 2019 season.

As a defensive team captain, Ogbongbemiga was the recipient of OSU’s Leslie O’Neal Award as OK State’s Defensive MVP.  He was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by the coaches, a first-team academic All-Big 12 honouree. He ranked second on the team and sixth in the Big 12 with 100 tackles and ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 15.5 tackles for loss. He led the team and ranked 13th in the Big 12 with 5.0 sacks. He set a career high with 12 tackles against Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl and added a sack and a fumble recovery.

Nathan Rourke,
Ohio Bobcats, senior, quarterback – Oakville, Ontario

Nathan Rourke is looking to three-peat for the Cornish Trophy, having won the first two awards in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. In 2019, Rourke earned All-MAC first-team honors after being named All-MAC second team each of the previous two seasons. Rourke was also named to the Academic All-MAC team, and in addition earned MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete recognition for the second year in a row as a student with a 3.20 GPA and participation in at least 50 percent of the contests.

Rourke was named Most Valuable Player in his final game as a Bobcat. He completed nine of his 17 passing attempts for 144 yards and added 87 yards and a touchdown. Rourke finished his career with a 24-13 record as a starting quarterback and was under centre for three-straight bowl victories.

He finished the season completing 61 percent of his passes for 2,820 yards, with 20 touchdowns compared to only five interceptions. He added 867 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns. Rourke was selected 15th overall by the BC Lions, tying Jesse Palmer as the highest-selected quarterback in a CFL draft.

The Cornish Trophy is on permanent display at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton. It’s selected annually by 20 journalists, CFL front office staff and panelists.

PAST CORNISH TROPHY RESULTS:

2017-18 Cornish trophy
1 Nathan Rourke So./QB Ohio Oakville, ON
2 Dejon Brissett Jr./WR Richmond Mississauga, ON
3 Justin McInnis Sr./WR Arkansas State Pierrefonds, Quebec
4 Hergy Mayala Jr./WR U Conn Montreal, Quebec
5 Chase Claypool So./WR Notre Dame Abbotsford, BC
 
2018-19 CORNISH TROPHY
51 Nathan Rourke* (6) Jr./QB Ohio Oakville, Ontario
51 Chuba Hubbard (5) Fr./RB Oklahoma State Sherwood Park, Alberta
49 Chase Claypool (3) Jr./WR Notre Dame Abbotsford, BC
38 Neville Gallimore (1) Jr./DL Oklahoma Ottawa, Ontario
16 Brady Oilveria Sr./RB North Dakota Winnipeg, Manitoba
 
  *-Rourke had more 1st place votes to break tie

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