The Canadian Football League announced today the nominees for the 2010 Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards.
Voters were asked to select players from their local CFL division who, through on-field performance excellence, best represent the awards’ title – Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Canadian Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, Most Outstanding Rookie and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
In a rematch of the 2008 finalists Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo and Calgary quarterback Henry Burris were the nominees for Most Outstanding Player from the East and West respectively.
Calvillo had a league best quarterback rating of 108.1 this season while throwing for 32 touchdowns against just seven interceptions in 15 games this season.
Burris led the CFL with 38 touchdowns this season and threw of 4,945 yards. He also added 491 yards rushing and three touchdowns along the ground.
Burris’ teammate Juwan Simpson was the West’s nominee for Most Outstanding defensive player. Simpson led the Stamps with 71 tackles this season and adde seven sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception. He will be up against Hamilton’s Markeith Knowlton from the East. Knowlton did a little bit of everything for the Ticats this year picking up 71 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions, a league best six fumble recoveries and two blocked punts.
A pair of gifted receivers in Andy Fantuz and Dave Stala will square off for top Canadian honours. Stala was the man on second down for the Ticats and notched a career-best 85 catches for 1,015 yards with six touchdowns this year. Fantuz led the CFL with a career-high 1,380 yards receiving with six touchdowns on 87 catches.
Toronto’s Chad Owens is the East’s nominee for top special teams player after leading the league with 2,701 total return yards – nearly 1,000 more than his closest competition. Owens also tied for the league lead in return touchdowns with four and became just the fifth player in CFL history to have over 1,000 punt and kick return yards in the same season. He will be up against B.C.’s Yonus Davis who had three return TDs this season and a league best 25.5 yards per kickoff return average.
Hard-hitting Lions linebacker Solomon Eliminian is the West nominee for Most Outstanding Rookie after he led B.C. with 78 tackles this season and also notched five sacks. The East nominee is Ticats return man/running back Marcus Thigpen who became the first player in CFL history to score a touchdown in five different ways in a single season, needing only seven games to turn the trick.
On the O-line Calgary’s Ben Archibald receives his second straight West nomination as the man protecting Henry Burris’ blind side. The Stampeders allowed only 30 sacks this season (2nd in the CFL) and averaged a league best 145.4 rush yards per game. He will be up against Hamilton’s Marwan Hage who anchored the Ticats excellent O-line that allowed a league low 26 sacks this season.
The East and West Player Award winners were selected by 69 voters, including members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and CFL head coaches.
The winners will be announced at the sold out 2010 Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards show during Grey Cup week on Thursday, November 25 at the Edmonton Winspear Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.