On a night where the league’s biggest stars were celebrated at the Shaw CFL Awards, Mike Reilly emerged with the league’s top honours for the first time in his career as he was named 2017’s Most Outstanding Player. The Calgary Stampeders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts split the other awards in a star-studded evening recognizing the incredible accomplishments of players and leaders across the league. The Shaw CFL Awards, hosted by TSN’s James Duthie, took place at the Shaw Centre as part of the festivities for the 105th Grey Cup presented by Shaw.
The 2017 award winners:
- Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly (Most Outstanding Player)
- Calgary Stampeders linebacker Alex Singleton (Most Outstanding Defensive Player)
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris (Most Outstanding Canadian)
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Stanley Bryant (Nissan TITAN Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman)
- Calgary Stampeders return man Roy Finch (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player)
- Toronto Argonauts running back James Wilder Jr. (Most Outstanding Rookie)
- Toronto Argonauts head coach Marc Trestman (CFL Coach of the Year)
The Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award, chosen by the Commissioner of the CFL to recognize an individual who has demonstrated great leadership and made significant contributions to the league, was awarded to Vice President and Executive Producer at TSN Paul Graham.
The CFLPA announced Adarius Bowman as its 2017 recipient of the Tom Pate Memorial Award, given to a player who has made a significant contribution to his team, his community and Association to celebrate outstanding sportsmanship.
Luc Brodeur-Jourdain received the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award from the CFL and Veterans’ Affairs Canada in recognition of his courage, perseverance, strength and service to his community.
The winners of the Shaw CFL Awards were selected by a panel of voters which included representation from the Football Reporters of Canada from all nine CFL markets, the national chapter of FRC voters and the head coaches of the CFL. In total, 77 voters completed their ballots.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER -- MIKE REILLY, QB
In his eighth season in the CFL, Mike Reilly won his first Most
Outstanding Player award after leading the league in passing yards
(5,830), rushing touchdowns (12) and quarterback rating (87.1).
Reilly became the first Edmonton Eskimo to win the league’s top honour since 1989 when Tracy Ham took home the accolade. He also became the seventh Eskimo player to win the award, making it nine times that the award has gone to Edmonton.
The 32-year old set career highs in passing yards, passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns while starting all 18 games for Edmonton. Reilly improved his career record in the CFL to 45-33. It was the third consecutive season he has been named Edmonton’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Kennewick, WA native led Edmonton to a 12-6 record in the ultra-competitive West Division, becoming the first 12-win team to finish third in the division. The Eskimos led the league in passing yards.
Reilly received 64 first-place votes.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER -- ALEX SINGLETON, LB CALGARY STAMPEDERSCalgary Stampeders linebacker Alex Singleton was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the first time in his young career.
Singleton set a new Canadian record for most tackles in a season with 123, good for second in the league and a new franchise benchmark. Singleton anchored a defence that allowed a league-low 349 points (19.4 points per game), created a CFL-best 50 sacks and forced the most turnovers.
Singleton added four sacks, a forced fumble and one interception of his own, finishing second in the CFL with 151 total defensive plays.
The last Stampeder to take home the top defensive honour was John Grace in 2005. This is just the fifth time that a Canadian has won Most Outstanding Defensive Player; Singleton joins Jim Corrigall (1975), Bill Baker (1976), Dave Fennell (1978) and Brent Johnson (2006).
Singleton tallied 74 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN PLAYER -- ANDREW HARRIS, RB WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERSWinnipeg native and Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris made 189 carries, leading the league in rushing yards with 1,035 and yards from scrimmage with 1,892.
This season Harris threatened to become the first player in CFL history to record 1,000 rushing and receiving yards. Despite falling short of the milestone Harris set a new running back record of 105 receptions, breaking Craig Ellis’ record (102) set in 1985.
Harris became the first player in CFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and 850+ receiving yards in a single season.
Harris played a big role in Winnipeg hosting their first playoff game at Investors Group Field, their first home playoff date since 2011.
In his eight years in the league Harris has amassed 6,268 rushing yards, 4,127 receiving yards and 60 total touchdowns.
The last Blue Bomber to take home the Most Outstanding Canadian Award was Doug Brown in 2001.
The running back received 74 first-place votes.
NISSAN TITAN MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -- STANLEY BRYANT, OL WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERSIn his third season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Stanley Bryant anchored an offensive line that rushed for the most yards and scored the second-most offensive points in the CFL.
The Goldsboro, North Carolina native became the first Blue Bomber to take home the top offensive lineman honour since Dave Mudge did so in 2001.
“Congratulations to Stanley Bryant for winning the 2017 Nissan TITAN Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman of the Year Award,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc. “In partnership with the CFL, Nissan Canada is proud to recognize the CFL’s offensive linemen for their performance and dedication, and is thrilled to present this year’s award to Stanley for his contribution to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.”
Bryant started in 18 regular season games this year and played an integral role in Matt Nichols setting new career highs in passing yards and touchdowns.
The East Carolina standout received 60 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER -- ROY FINCH, RB CALGARY STAMPEDERSCalgary Stampeders return man Roy Finch had one of the best seasons in CFL history when it came to punt returns. His 1,200 punt return yards were the third-most ever in a season, trailing only Henry Williams in 1991 (1,440) and Chris Wright in 1995 (1,236).
Finch averaged 16.4 yards per punt return, a benchmark that puts him third in the record book behind Leon Bright and Larry Highbaugh who both averaged a CFL-best 16.8 yards per punt return.
The third-year player scored three punt return touchdowns and recorded nine punt returns that exceeded 30+ yards.
The Oklahoma Sooner product added 696 kickoff return yards and 18 missed field goal return yards for 1,914 combined return yards on the season. He is the first Stampeder to be named the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player since Rene Paredes in 2013.
In his career, he has scored four punt return touchdowns while averaging 14.9 yards per punt return.
Finch received 61 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE -- JAMES WILDER JR, RB TORONTO ARGONAUTSAfter starting the season as primarily a special teams player, Wilder accumulated 261 yards from scrimmage (169 rush, 92 receiving) in the first 10 weeks. Once the second half of the season began, Wilder took a huge step into the spotlight.
The Florida State product recorded 1,141 yards from scrimmage (700 rush, 441 receiving) in his last seven games en route to securing the regular season’s East Division title for the Argonauts.
In total this season, Wilder rushed for 872 rushing yards and averaged 7.1 yards per carry. He added 51 receptions for 533 receiving yards and scored a total of five touchdowns on the year. He finished fifth overall in rushing yards despite starting in just ten games.
The last time an Argonaut won Most Outstanding Rookie was Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell in 1997.
The running back received 72 first-place votes.
COACH OF THE YEAR -- MARC TRESTMAN TORONTO ARGONAUTSAfter four years away from the CFL, Trestman helped turn around the Toronto Argonauts to win his second Coach of the Year award.
After being named the head coach in late in February, Trestman flipped the team from bottom dwellers in the East Division to East Division Champions in one year. He was instrumental in the team hosting their first playoff game since 2013.
Trestman becomes the first Argonaut to win the Annis Stukus Award since 2012 when Scott Milanovich won the award.
This is Trestman’s second honour: he won his first Coach of the Year award in 2009 with the Montreal Alouettes.
Trestman recorded 54 first-place votes.