Awards season is almost upon us with just two weeks remaining in the CFL regular season, which means it’s time to take a look at who could be taking home some hardware.
We’re focusing on the Most Outstanding Canadian award to start, identifying one candidate for each team along with some honourable mentions. It’s been a strong year for national talent across the country, so there are plenty of worthy candidates receiving consideration.
For clarity, I do not have a vote for awards at the team level. Honourable mentions are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
B.C. Lions — LB Boseko Lokombo
The six-foot-two, 225-pound defender has been sensational in his first season back in B.C., recording 61 defensive tackles, nine special teams tackles, four sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble, and one touchdown. B.C. has had a rough season, but Lokombo has been a big bright spot at weak-side linebacker.
Honourable mentions: REC Jevon Cottoy, LB Adam Konar, LB Jordan Williams
Calgary Stampeders — K Rene Paredes
Placekickers around the CFL have had a challenging year, but this ten-year veteran has avoided the struggle of his peers. Paredes has connected on 40-of-44 field goal attempts with a long of 52 yards, leading the CFL with an accuracy of 90.9 percent. He’s also made all 19 of his one-point converts and accounted for 139 of Calgary’s 269 points.
Honourable mentions: OL Sean McEwen, DB Royce Metchie, DL Derek Wiggan
Edmonton Elks — REC Shai Ross
The University of Manitoba product has had a breakout year, making 22 receptions for 320 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the Elks in touchdown receptions and has three more than Derel Walker and Greg Ellingson combined.
Honourable mentions: REC Mike Jones, LB Grant McDonald, OL Kyle Saxelid, K Sean Whyte
Saskatchewan Roughriders — LB Micah Teitz
The third-year defender has done an admirable job of replacing Cameron Judge at weak-side linebacker, making 62 defensive tackles, seven special teams tackles, and three sacks. A number of Saskatchewan’s national receivers have stepped up this year, but Teitz has been too consistent to pass up for this award.
Honourable mentions: OL Dan Clark, REC Brayden Lenius, REC Kian Schaffer-Baker
Winnipeg Blue Bombers — REC Nic Demski
The 27-year-old has somehow found a new gear in his sixth CFL season, recording a career-high 633 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in just ten games. He has also averaged 6.4 yards per carry as a running back, scoring an additional touchdown along the ground.
Honourable mentions: OL Drew Desjarlais, RB Andrew Harris, FB Mike Miller
Hamilton Tiger-Cats — DB Tunde Adeleke
The Carleton product has reestablished himself as the league’s best Canadian defensive back after starting the season on the injured list, recording 37 defensive tackles, four knockdowns, one sack, and one interception in ten games. It’s a shame the Ticats don’t let Adeleke returns punts, too.
Honourable mentions: DB Nic Cross, FB Nikola Kalinic, RB Sean Thomas-Erlington
Toronto Argonauts — REC Kurleigh Gittens Jr.
The former third-round pick has had a breakout year, making 43 receptions for 533 yards and three touchdowns. Gittens Jr.’s production has been all the more impressive considering he’s predominantly played field-side wide receiver, where most quarterbacks rarely push the ball.
Honourable mentions: OL Dariusz Bladek, OL Jamal Campbell, LB Henoc Muamba
Ottawa Redblacks — K Lewis Ward
The third-year placekicker missed three field goals in Ottawa’s recent loss to Toronto, but is still 29-for-35 (82.9 percent) on the year, which is good for second in the East Division. The Redblacks have had another tough season, but Ward has given R-Nation plenty of reasons to cheer.
Honourable mentions: REC Nate Behar, DL Cleyon Laing, DB Antoine Pruneau
Montreal Alouettes — LB Chris Ackie
The former first-round pick has been great since returning to Montreal as a free agent, recording 40 defensive tackles, five sacks, and one interception. He has held down the weak-side linebacker position admirably, excelling in run support, pass coverage, and rushing the passer.
Honourable mentions: DB Ty Cranston, DL David Menard, OL Landon Rice