Fajardo, Banks among team nominees for CFL’s outstanding player award

Fajardo, Banks among team nominees for CFL’s outstanding player award

TORONTO — The CFL’s leading passer and top receiver were unanimous selections for the league’s top individual award.

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo and Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Brandon Banks were their teams’ selections for the CFL’s outstanding player award Wednesday.

Voting was conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada and nine CFL head coaches.

Fajardo has been a key figure this season for Saskatchewan (12-5), having completed 71.5 per cent of his passes for a league-best 4,302 yards with 18 TDs and eight interceptions. If Fajardo, who began the year as the backup quarterback, can lead his team to victory Saturday against the Edmonton Eskimos, the Riders will finish atop the West Division for the first time since ‘09.

“He’s been outstanding for us, he’s had a great season,” Riders rookie head coach Craig Dickenson said of Fajardo. “He’s certainly our MVP, if you ask me.

“I think he’s done a heck of a lot and would be deserving of consideration for that.”

The fleet-footed Banks — whose nickname is “Speedy B” — has a club-record 112 catches for Hamilton (league-best 14-3 record) with 1,550 yards and 13 TDs. All three are CFL-high numbers.

Also joining Fajardo and Banks as unanimous top player selections were Montreal Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. (3,816 passing yards, 22 TDs, with 392 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns) as well as receivers Bryan Burnham (93 catches, 1,401 yards, 10 TDs) of the B.C. Lions and Reggie Begelton (96 receptions, 1,384 yards, 10 TDs) of the Calgary Stampeders. The other nominees include Edmonton quarterback Trevor Harris, Winnipeg defensive lineman Willie Jefferson, Toronto receiver Derel Walker and Ottawa linebacker Avery Williams.

Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was named the CFL’s most outstanding player in 2018. Now, his top target is going for the award.

“I came here for a championship. Individual stats are good, but I’m here for this Grey Cup,” the Lamar University alum said.

“I’m not much of a vocal guy. Honestly, Bo can see it my eyes. When he needs a play, he looks at me and I look at him back and we have that connection like ‘OK, I need you to get this one.’ We don’t have to say much. Actions speak louder than words anyway.”

Begelton suffered a season-ending broken arm in September of 2018 and wasn’t able to play in the 2018 Grey Cup.

“I went into the off-season really early to at least get back to where I was,” Begelton said.

“I made a goal for myself to at least try to get 1,500 yards, 10 touchdowns. It was something I’d never done before. I’d never been over a thousand yards as a receiver at any level and that was one of my biggest goals.”

Jefferson (unanimous as defensive player) and Williams (defensive player) were both double nominees. So too were Toronto’s Cleyon Laing (Canadian, defensive player), Calgary’s Nate Holley (unanimous as special teams, rookie), Winnipeg’s Mike Miller (Canadian, unanimous as special teams), Montreal’s Henoc Muamba (defensive, Canadian) and Ottawa’s Nolan MacMillan (Canadian, lineman).

A notable absentee was Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris, who has run for a CFL-high 1,380 yards and looks to earn a third straight league crown. Harris, the league’s top Canadian in 2017, served a two-game suspension this season following a positive drug test.

Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence (league-high 95 tackles) and Saskatchewan’s Charleston Hughes (CFL-leading 15 sacks) were both nominated for the top defensive player honour. Also selected were Edmonton linebacker Larry Dean (unanimously) and defensive backs T.J. Lee (B.C.) and Tre Roberson (Calgary, unanimous).

Linebackers Cory Greenwood of Calgary and Cameron Judge of Saskatchewan along with B.C. receiver Lemar Durant were unanimous selections as top Canadian. The other nominees included Edmonton’s Kwaku Boateng and Hamilton’s Brandon Revenberg.

Winnipeg’s Stanley Bryant was a unanimous pick as top lineman, an honour he’s received the last two years. Edmonton’s David Beard, Saskatchewan’s Dan Clark and Toronto’s Sean McEwen were also unanimous selections while Joel Figueroa (B.C.), Kristian Matte (Montreal), Shane Bergman (Calgary) and Chris Van Zeyl (Hamilton) were nominated.

The division finalists will be announced Nov. 7. The CFL will honour its top performers Nov. 21 in Calgary.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andre Lemus, the owner of Las Palmeras in Red Deer, says he hopes in-person dining restrictions are lifted this upcoming Thursday. (Photo courtesy www.laspalmeras.ca)
Red Deer restaurant owner hopes in-person dining restrictions are lifted Thursday

The owner of a Red Deer restaurant says business has “dropped” since… Continue reading

The Town of Ponoka and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) have ratified a new agreement, averting a strike. (File photo from Facebook)
Alberta gov’t ‘using pandemic as shield to lay off workers,’ says AUPE

The Government of Alberta’s “attacks on workers” is continuing with a new… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP, EMS, Search and Rescue, STARS air ambulance and Alstrom Helicopters worked together to rescue a fallen ice climber Friday. (Photo contributed by Rocky Mountain House RCMP)
Rocky Mountain House RCMP help rescue fallen ice climber

Rocky Mountain RCMP helped assist a fallen ice climber Friday afternoon. At… Continue reading

Students Association of Red Deer College president Brittany Lausen says she’s pleased the college is offering students a choice to attend class in-person or remotely. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Red Deer College winter term enrolment dips

Enrolment down about six per cent but mix of online and in-person instruction is going over well

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party: O’Toole

OTTAWA — Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says there is “no place… Continue reading

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

First Nations, ranchers, municipal officials and environmentalists hope to persuade a judge… Continue reading

Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle arrives at Nova Scotia provincial court for a sentencing hearing in Halifax on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canada’s spy-catching system caused delay, angst in Delisle case: former FBI official

OTTAWA — The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s former head of counter-intelligence… Continue reading

People wait to be screened before entering Little Mountain Place, a long-term care home that has had 41 residents die since a COVID-19 outbreak was declared at the facility in November in Vancouver on Sunday, January 3, 2021. Staff in long-term care homes across Canada are struggling to isolate elderly residents with dementia during COVID-19 outbreaks, accelerating the deadly spread of the virus, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Care home staff struggle to isolate dementia patients during outbreaks: experts

VANCOUVER — Staff in long-term care homes across Canada are struggling to… Continue reading

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what's fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most… Continue reading

Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) just misses the net against goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during  scrimmage at their NHL training camp practice in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Jets return to practice a day after suspending workouts due to COVID concerns

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets have returned to practice a day after… Continue reading

Travellers wait at the Covid-19 testing facility at Heathrow Airport in London, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. The UK will close all travel corridors from Monday morning to protect against the coronavirus with travellers entering the country from overseas are required to have proof of a negative Covid test.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
UK aims to give 1st COVID-19 shot to all adults by September

LONDON — The U.K. government plans to offer a first dose of… Continue reading

Most Read