Zach Collaros, Eugene Lewis headline CFL divisional award winners

Photo courtesy: Dominick Gravel/Montreal Alouettes

The CFL has unveiled the divisional award winners for Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Most Outstanding Canadian, Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, Most Outstanding Rookie, Most Outstanding Special Teams Player, and Coach of the Year.

The league announced its team nominees for player awards last week as voted by members of the media and head coaches from across the league. The winners at the league level will be unveiled on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Conexus Arts Centre in Regina in an event hosted by TSN’s Kate Beirness.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Most Outstanding Player

West Division — QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
East Division — REC Eugene Lewis, Montreal Alouettes

Collaros had his first 4,000-yard passing season in 2022 and threw a career-high 37 touchdown passes, 12 more than the second-ranked quarterback. He went 15-2 as a starter and led Winnipeg to its second consecutive first-place finish in the West Division. This is the veteran’s second career M.O.P. nomination and is looking to become just the fifth player in league history to win the award in back-to-back years.

Lewis set all-new career-highs this season with 91 receptions for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led his division with 22 catches for 20-plus yards and notched 30 receptions that converted second downs. This is the second consecutive year that Montreal has produced the East Division’s M.O.P. candidate after William Stanback did so in 2021.

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Most Outstanding Defensive Player

West Division — DL Shawn Lemon, Calgary Stampeders
East Division — DL Lorenzo Mauldin IV, Ottawa Redblacks

Lemon recorded 29 tackles, 14 sacks, and five forced fumbles this season, tying a career-high in sacks and tying for the league lead in forced fumbles. He was part of a Calgary defence that led the CFL in sacks and allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game at 89.6. This is the eleven-year veteran’s first nomination for this award.

Mauldin IV led the league with 17 sacks, becoming the first Ottawa player to do so since Angelo Snipes recorded a league-best 20 sacks in 1992. The former Hamilton Tiger-Cat made a career-high 43 defensive tackles along with five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He had five multi-sack games this season.

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

Most Outstanding Canadian

West Division — QB Nathan Rourke, B.C. Lions
East Division — REC Kurleigh Gittens Jr., Toronto Argonauts

Rourke led the league with six 300-yard passing games and three 400-yard passing games despite missing seven contests due to a foot injury. He went 10-2 as a starter, posted a league-best 123.6 quarterback efficiency rating, and set a new CFL single-season passing completion record (78.7 percent). The last quarterback to be nominated for this award was Gerry Dattilio in 1980.

Gittens Jr. led all Canadians with 81 catches for 1,101 receiving yards, marking the most by a homegrown receiver since Brad Sinopoli in 2018. The Ottawa native set a new career-high with five touchdown receptions and converted 26 second downs on the year. He led his team in receiving yards and led the CFL in yards after the catch with 483.

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman

West Division — LT Stanley Bryant, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
East Division — LG Brandon Revenberg, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Bryant anchored an offensive line that allowed the second-fewest sacks in the league with 28, while finishing first in offensive touchdowns (58) and second in rushing yards per game (110.5). The twelve-year veteran has now been nominated for this award five times, winning it in 2017, 2018, and 2021. He is the only player in CFL history to win Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman more than twice.

Revenberg served as the backbone of a Hamilton offence that allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the league (31) despite having the third-most pass attempts (549). Hamilton had the league’s third-best passing offence with receivers Tim White and Steven Dunbar Jr. both notching 1,000-yard seasons. The native of Essex, Ont. has now been nominated for this award three times.

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player

West Division — KR Mario Alford, Saskatchewan Roughriders
East Division — KR Chandler Worthy, Montreal Alouettes

Alford led the league with four kick return touchdowns, while also recording 1,689 combined return yards. He is the eleventh player in league history with four or more kick return touchdowns in a single season and the fourth ever to score a kick return touchdown in three different ways. He led the CFL in kickoff return average (min. 25 returns) with 25.8 yards and tied a league record with two kickoff return touchdowns.

Worthy averaged 24.0 yards on kickoff returns and tied a CFL record with two kickoff return touchdowns. The former Toronto Argonaut recorded 10 “big-play” kick returns, six punt returns of 30-plus yards, and four kickoff returns of 40-plus yards. He finished third in the league with 1,862 all-purpose yards.

Photo courtesy: CFL

Most Outstanding Rookie

West Division — REC Dalton Schoen, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
East Division — REC Tyson Philpot, Montreal Alouettes

Schoen made 70 catches to lead the CFL in receiving yardage (1,441), average yards per catch (20.6), and touchdown receptions (16). He is the third receiver ever to lead the league in yardage as a rookie, joining Curtis Marsh (2000) and David Williams (1988).

Philpot appeared in all 18 games and recorded 986 all-purpose yards along with two touchdowns for the Alouettes. The Calgary native and first-round CFL draft pick caught 39 passes for 459 yards along with 511 combined return yards. He earned a starting role at slotback with three games remaining in the season.

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Coach of the Year

West Division — Mike O’Shea, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
East Division — Ryan Dinwiddie, Toronto Argonauts

O’Shea led the Blue Bombers to a league-best 15-3 record, setting a new franchise record for most wins in one regular season. The team is set to appear in a fourth consecutive West Final and will host the game in back-to-back years for the first time in six decades. The native of North Bay, Ont. is the longest-serving coach in the league with a career record of 82-58 and is tied for fourteenth all-time in wins by a CFL head coach.

Dinwiddie guided the Argonauts to an 11-7 record to claim the East Division crown for a second consecutive year. He improved his career record to 20-12 as Toronto went 6-3 on the road and 7-3 against divisional opponents. This is the second time the former CFL quarterback has been nominated for this award.

The CFL awards ceremony will also include the presentation of the Commissioner’s Award, the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, the Tom Pate Memorial Award, the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award, and the Jane Mawby Tribute Award.