Franchise QB Cody Fajardo headlines Riders 2021 individual team award winners

The Roughriders have named their individual team award winners for the 2021 Canadian Football League season.

In this first ballot, Football Reporters of Canada representatives from each CFL city plus the respective head coach, in this case Craig Dickenson, submitted votes for the six categories. (*denotes unanimous selection.)

Voters were asked to select players from their local CFL team who, through on-field performance excellence, best represent the awards titled: Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Canadian Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, Most Outstanding Rookie, and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.

Most Outstanding Player: quarterback Cody Fajardo

Fajardo’s second season as the starting QB for Saskatchewan has culminated in his second team award nomination for Most Outstanding Player. Fajardo has led the team to a 9-4 season and became the fastest quarterback in Roughrider history to earn 20 wins. The 29-year-old pivot has started all 13 games so far this season and thrown for 2,970 yards and 14 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He’s added 468 yards on 78 carries and four rushing touchdowns.

Most Outstanding Defensive Player: defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy

Purifoy has been a force on the Roughriders defence all season, playing in multiple positions and excelling in all of them. He started the season at defensive halfback before taking over at safety midway through the campaign. A leader on defence, Purifoy flies all over the field to make a play and is also routinely seen lined up at strong-side linebacker. Over 12 games played, the 28-year-old has amassed 39 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles and two interceptions. This is Purifoy’s first career team award nomination.

Most Outstanding Special Team Player: kicker Brett Lauther*

Lauther has connected on 39-of-46 field goal attempts (85 percent) including three longer than 50 yards. He was perfect on field goal attempts in nine games this season, including four games where he went 4-for-4. His longest field goal — a 54 yarder — was scored against Winnipeg on September 5. The 31-year-old is also 18-of-19 on one-point converts and has scored 137 total points for the team this season. In addition, Lauther has kicked off 46 times this season for 2,803 yards and an average of 62.3 yards. Lauther was the Roughriders nominee for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player and Most Outstanding Canadian in 2018.

Most Outstanding Canadian: linebacker Micah Teitz*

Starting in all 13 games this season, Teitz has been a strong presence in the Roughriders linebacker corps and a solid contributor on special teams. Over his 13 games, the weak-side linebacker is the team leader in defensive tackles with 64 and added seven special teams tackles and three sacks. Teitz has also been a strong part of the Roughriders run defence which has allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league and tallied four tackles for loss, the third best total on the team. This is Teitz’s first career team award nomination.

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman: centre Dan Clark

A stalwart on the Roughrider offensive line, this is Clark’s second consecutive season as the Roughrider nominee for Most Outstanding Lineman. A natural leader and Grey Cup champion with nine seasons under his belt, he has provided a veteran presence to a young offensive line. Clark has fought through injury and started all 13 games played this season.

Most Outstanding Rookie: receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker

Schaffer-Baker was selected by the Roughriders in the fourth round, 30th overall, of the 2020 CFL Draft and went on to wait an entire year to make his CFL debut. He first drew into the line-up in Week 3 and hasn’t missed a game since, providing a reliable big body on offence. Over 11 games played, Schaffer-Baker has caught 45 receptions for 550 yards, including a 107-yard game against the Calgary Stampeders in Week 9. He’s also added two touchdowns and holds a 13.6 yards per catch average.

The East and West Division finalists for the 2021 CFL Awards will be unveiled on Thursday, November 25.

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