Laval receiver Kevin Mital takes home Hec Crighton Trophy as U Sports unveils major award winners

Photo courtesy: Laval Rouge et Or

Laval Rouge et Or receiver Kevin Mital has been awarded the Hec Crighton Trophy as Canada’s top university football player. He becomes the first receiver to win the award since Western’s Andy Fantuz in 2005.

Mital beat out Saskatchewan quarterback Mason Nyhus, St. FX running back Malcolm Bussey, and Western running back Keon Edwards for the highest honour in U Sports when major league awards were announced on Thursday.

The 23-year-old transfer from Syracuse recorded 58 catches for 751 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games this past season, leading the country in all three categories. His impressive touchdown mark set a new program record and tied the Quebec conference benchmark held by Rob Harrod of Ottawa (1998) and Alexander Fox of Bishop’s (2013), making it the sixth-highest single-season total in U Sports history.

The St-Hubert, Quebec native set a Laval record for receiving touchdowns in a game with for four against McGill, scoring three on two other occasions to help the Rouge et Or capture the Dunsmore Cup and advance to the Vanier Cup.

“He is a generational player. I hope the fans will enjoy seeing him play because I don’t think he’s going to play at this level for long. He dominated everywhere he went,” Laval head coach Glen Constantin said in a statement. “I knew he was going to dominate with us, but it’s the ease with which he does it. Sometimes it’s almost disconcerting how easy it looks for him.”

Other major award winners announced on Thursday included Montreal linebacker Nicky Farinaccio, who won the Presidents’ Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding standup defensive player; UBC tackle Theo Benedet, who took home the J.P. Metras Trophy as the most outstanding down lineman; McGill quarterback Eloa Latendresse-Regimbald, who won the Peter Gorman Trophy for rookie of the year; Gary Waterman, who won the Frank Tindall Trophy as Coach of the Year and Duncan Patterson of Saint Mary’s, who won the Russ Jackson Award for his excellence in football, academics and community service.

Farinaccio was a force to be reckoned with in the RSEQ this season, racking up 10.5 sacks for the Carabins. That led all U Sports defenders and came 2.5 short of the national record held by former Carabin Jean-Samuel Blanc. The second-year linebacker also finished the season with 33.5 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

Benedet entered the 2022 season as the highest-ranked U Sports prospect on the CFL Scouting Bureau list and has only exceeded expectations. The six-foot-seven, 305-pound tackle helped power the Thunderbirds to the Hardy Cup final for the first time since 2017, opening up holes for UBC’s conference-leading ground game.

Latendresse-Regimbald seized the starting quarterback job for the Redbirds as a freshman, throwing for 2,004 passing yards and running for 602 more along the ground — best in the country for a pivot. The Montrealer added eight touchdowns while throwing nine interceptions, rushing for over 100 yards and throwing for over 300 on two separate occasions each.

Waterman won his first Frank Tindall Trophy in five nominations after leading the X-Men to an undefeated 8-0 record and their second straight Loney Bowl championship. St. FX finished fourth nationally in scoring and interceptions while landing second in sacks.

Patterson threw for 1,143 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions in seven games for the Huskies in 2022, but was honoured for his impact off the field. A four-time Academic All-Canadian who graduated from Acadia in 2022 with a 4.0 GPA, he volunteers as a youth football coach and gives back to the community through his involvement with Special Olympics Canada, CIBC Run for the Cure, the Nova Scotia Alzheimer Society, and the Canadian Cancer Society.

U Sports also announced their All-Canadian honourees on Thursday. The full list can be seen below.

First Team All-Canadians


Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
QB Arnaud Desjardins Laval 2 Montreal, Que. Law
RB Keon Edwards Western 3 Toronto. Ont. Criminology
RB Malcolm Bussey STFX 2 Hammonds Plains, N.S. Arts
REC Kevin Mital Laval 2 Saint-Hubert, Que. Business
REC Jeremy Murphy Concordia 4 St. Bruno, Que. Recreation & Leisure
REC Savaughn Magnaye-Jones Western 4 Hamilton, Ont. Management
REC Daniel Perry Saskatchewan 4 Calgary, Alta Arts & Science
C Elliot Beamer Western 4 Bowen Island, B.C. Social Sciences
T Theo Benedet UBC 3 North Vancouver, B.C. Arts
T Nathan Dumoulin-Duguay Laval 2 Rimouski, Que. Sport Administration
G Nicolas Guay Laval 5 Quebec City, Que. Free studies
G Phillip Grohovac Western 3 Victoria, B.C. Arts and Humanities


Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
DT Tanner Schmekel Regina 4 Regina, Sask. Kinesiology & Health
DT Jean-William Rouleau Laval 3 Rimouski, Que. Civil Engineering
DE Anthony Bennett Regina 5 Weston, Fla. Education
DE Silas Hubert Queen’s 2 Hastings, Ont. Environmental Studies
LB Nicky Farinaccio Montréal 2 Montreal, Que. Criminology
LB Ryder Varga Regina 4 Regina, Sask. Engineering
LB James Peter Ottawa 4 Ottawa, Ont. Human Kinetics
S Daniel Valente Western 5 London, Ont. King’s College
DB Ashton Miller-Melancon Queen’s 2 Montreal, Que. Health
DB Cristophe Beaulieu Laval 2 Blainville, Que. Business
CB Benjamin Labrosse McGill 1 Greenfield Park, QC Special Status
CB Siriman Harrison Bagayoga Guelph 3 Bois-des-Filion, QC Sport Management

Special Teams

Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
P Chris MacLean Calgary 4 Brampton, Ont. Arts
PK Tyler Mullan Queen’s 1 North Bay, Ont. Science
RET Alfred Olay York 2 Courtice, Ont. Engineering

Second Team All-Canadians


Pos Name University Year Hometown Academic Program
QB Mason Nyhus Saskatchewan 5 Regina, Sask. Education
RB Isaiah Knight UBC 2 Ottawa, Ont. Arts
RB J-P Cimankinda Ottawa 4 Ottawa, Ont. HR Management
REC AK Gassama Manitoba 3 Winnipeg, Man. Arts
REC Darius Simmons McGill 3 Lachine, Que. Economics
REC Richard Burton Queen’s 5 Ottawa, Ont. Politics & Economics
REC Ethan Jordan Laurier 2 Chatham, Ont. Psychology
C Daniel Shin Alberta 3 Edmonton, Alta. Business
T Zack Fry Western 4 London, Ont. Social Sciences
T Anthony Vandal Sherbrooke 4 Sorel-Tracy, Que. Business
G Evan Floren Queen’s 4 Ancaster, Ont. Environmental Science
G Giovanni Manu UBC 3 Pitt Meadows, B.C. Arts


Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
DT Darien Newell Queen’s 3 Brampton, Ont. Arts
DT Kyle Samson UBC 3 Hamilton, Ont. Business
DE Scott Murray Guelph 3 Mississauga, Ont. Commerce
DE Philippe Lemieux-Cardinal Montréal 5 Montreal, Que. Business
LB Emmanuel Aboagye-Gyan Ottawa 4 Ottawa, Ont. Criminology
LB Ryan Baker UBC 2 North Vancouver, B.C. Science
LB Alec Poirier Laval 4 Blainville, Que. Multidisciplinary
S Jaxon Ford Regina 4 Regina, Sask. Kinesiology & Health
DB Charlie Ringland Saskatchewan 4 Winnipeg, Man. Arts & Science
DB Rob Panabaker Western 4 London, Ont. Kinesiology
CB Kevin Victome Ottawa 3 Ottawa, Ont. Criminology
CB Kaylyn St-Cyr Montréal 3 La Prairie, Que. Administration

Special Teams

Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
P Dawson Hodge Laurier 2 Coquitlam, B.C. Geography
PK David Solie Saskatchewan 4 Saskatoon, Sask. Arts & Science
RET Santino Sparagna Concordia 2 Montreal, Que. Recreation and Leisure

The U Sports season wraps up this weekend with Saskatchewan playing Laval for the Vanier Cup on Saturday, November 26. The game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. EST at Western Alumni Stadium in London, Ontario.