award finalists have been announced, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats snagged a league-leading four nominations – out of a possible six – in the East. Markeith Knowlton (Most Oustanding Defensive Player), Dave Stala (Most Outstanding Canadian), Marwan Hage (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman) and Marcus Thigpen (Most Outstanding Rookie) were the four Tiger-Cats nominated. Anthony Calvillo (Most Outstanding Player) of the Montreal Alouettes and Chad Owens (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player) of the Toronto Argonauts were the other two nominees from the East.
In the West, Calgary led with three nominations: Henry Burris (Most Outstanding Player), Juwan Simpson (Most Outstanding Defensive Player) and Ben Archibald (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman). Andy Fantuz (Most Outstanding Canadian) of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Solomon Elimimian (Most Outstanding Rookie) and Yonus Davis (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player) of the BC Lions were other nominees.
All 12 men are more than deserving of their nominations. I would also like to point out that my selections – which I made on Tuesday – were not far off the mark.
I think the only Tiger-Cat who doesn't have a legitimate shot is Dave Stala for top Canadian. Fantuz has just been too good this season to ignore. He finished the season with the most receiving yards, a feat that hasn't been accomplished by a Canadian since Dave Sapunjis back in 1995.
Knowlton, to me, is a shoe-in for Defensive Player. No offense to Simpson, who I know has had a great season, but Knowlton is the best defensive player in the CFL, period.
Hage has a better than 50-50 shot to win top O-Lineman, and Thigpen is probably the underdog to win top Rookie.
That said, I would really only be shocked if Stala won and Knowlton lost.
Here are my predictions:
MOP – Burris
MODP – Knowlton
MOC – Fantuz
MOOL – Archibald
MOSTP – Owens (this one was easy)
MOR – Elimimian