The Stampeders list of outstanding player award nominees is out, and while I have no issue with any of the nominees after an outstanding year, I would have ticked a couple of different boxes.
Mark and Greg get our two votes as the Stampeders’ rights holder, and I have to say thanks to Greg for asking for input from Jock and I before he put his vote in. Here’s how my list would have looked:
MOP: Bo Levi Mitchell. As close a no brainer as you’ll find. Mitchell emerged as the leader of this team and as a field general this year, cool under pressure, and never beating himself. He should run the table to the league award.
DEFENSE: Deron Mayo. Nominee Charleston Hughes is a deserving winner, but for me, Mayo was game in and game out the heart and soul of this defense, and emerged as the leader on this group after Juwan Simpson and Keon Raymond were let go.
CANADIAN: Jerome Messam. Agree with the other voters here. Questions surrounded Messam and his seeming inability to stick with a team despite solid numbers. All he’s done this year is run over people to a rushing title, while being a consistent threat to catch the ball out of the backfield.
LINEMAN: Derek Dennis. Again. I say well done voters. Bo Levi Mitchell’s cool confidence in the pocket is a credit to an offensive line that again battled injuries all year. Dennis was a rock at tackle, and when called upon, at guard. Shane Bergman and Spencer Wilson made this a crowded category.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Roy Finch. The nod goes to Rene Paredes, and after a rough start, he settled back into the ‘Mr. Automatic’ role we’ve come to expect. Another good pick, but I lean toward Finch because of the pure excitement he generated on returns, always giving you the feeling something special could happen as he settled under the ball.
ROOKIE: DaVaris Daniels. Became a human highlight reel from the moment he got onto the field. The good news? Under contract for one more year. Next to lineman, this was the toughest choice as the 1A was Alex Singleton. Pushed Tank Reed out of the starter’s spot in the middle, and seems to be in on every tackle
From the list of nominees, I see three Stamps winning awards in Toronto. Voting for anyone other than Mitchell As MOP would be a travesty. Likewise Messam as top Canadian. Daniels would be my call for top rookie, but Taylor Loffler may have something to say about that.