Thursday, November 24, 2016 — TORONTO – On a night where the league’s biggest stars were celebrated at the Shaw CFL Awards, five Calgary Stampeders emerged with the league’s top honours, including Bo Levi Mitchell who was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player for the first time in his career. The Shaw CFL Awards took place at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of the festivities for the 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw.
The 2016 award winners:
- Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (Most Outstanding Player)
- BC Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian (Most Outstanding Defensive Player)
- Calgary Stampeders running back Jerome Messam (Most Outstanding Canadian)
- Calgary Stampeders offensive tackle Derek Dennis (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman)
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker/punter Justin Medlock (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player)
- Calgary Stampeders receiver DaVaris Daniels (Most Outstanding Rookie)
- Calgary Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson (AGF CFL Coach of the Year)
The Commissioner's Award, recognizing an individual or group for outstanding contributions to the league, was awarded by Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge. This year’s honouree, Jason Colero, garnered the distinction for more than three decades of dedicated service to the Toronto Argonauts, the community and causes that serve youth.
The winners 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, 73 voters completed their ballots.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
BO LEVI MITCHELL, QB
In his fifth year in the CFL, Bo Levi Mitchell won his first Most Outstanding Player award after leading the Stampeders to a 16-game unbeaten streak en route to the team’s 19th regular season Division title.
The 26-year-old pivot set new career-highs in pass attempts (606), completions (412), passing yards (5,385), touchdown passes (32) and games with 300+ passing yards (11). He completed the season with a 15-1-1 record as a starter.
This was Mitchell’s second West Division nomination for Most Outstanding Player. He finished runner-up last season to Henry Burris. Mitchell becomes the first Stampeders player to win the award since Jon Cornish in 2013 and the first Calgary quarterback to accomplish the feat since Henry Burris in 2010.
Through his first 51 career starts, Mitchell currently owns the CFL’s highest winning percentage as a starting quarterback with a record of 43-7-1 (.853).
Mitchell received 73 first-place votes.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
SOLOMON ELIMIMIAN, LB
Following another season in which he led the league in defensive tackles (129 – the third-highest season total in CFL history), Solomon Elimimian was named the League’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the second time in his career (his first came in 2014).
Elimimian becomes the sixth player since 1974 to win multiple Most Outstanding Defensive Player awards, joining Cameron Wake, Joe Montford, Willie Pless, Greg Battle and Dan Kepley. Elimimian is the only player in CFL history to win three different CFL Awards, having previously captured Most Outstanding Player (2014), Most Outstanding Defensive Player (2014) and the Top Rookie honour in 2010.
The University of Hawaii product set a new personal benchmark this season by notching eight quarterback sacks and adding an interception.
This was Elimimian’s second season with 100+ tackles, making him the eighth player in CFL history to record multiple 100+ tackle seasons. He finished with 10 or more tackles in five games this season.
The Lions linebacker received 52 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN PLAYER
JEROME MESSAM, RB
Toronto native Jerome Messam led the league in rushing in 2016 and was named the Most Outstanding Canadian Player in the CFL for the second time in his career (his first was in 2011).
Messam recorded a career-best 1,198 rushing yards, averaging 5.8 yards per carry and rushed for 11 touchdowns during the 2016 season. He also reached new career-highs with 54 receptions for 485 yards. This marks the third time he has eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards and his total of 1,198 yards was the sixth-highest single-season total for a Canadian player since 1950.
Messam finished second in the league in touchdowns (12) and yards from scrimmage (1,683).
He recorded five 100-yard rushing games this year. He has now amassed career totals of 4,468 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns.
Messam tallied 63 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
DEREK DENNIS, OT
In his second season with the Stampeders, Derek Dennis anchored an offensive line that allowed only 20 sacks this season and opened holes for the league’s leading rusher and Most Outstanding Canadian Jerome Messam.
The Queens, NY, native becomes the third Calgary Stampeder, joining Brett Jones (2014) and Fred Childress (1998), to take home the honour since 1974 – when the league altered the award to its current iteration.
Dennis helped cut Calgary’s sacks-allowed from 33 to 20 in 2016.
He started all 18 games in just his second season in the CFL.
The Temple standout received 59 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
JUSTIN MEDLOCK, K/P
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
Justin Medlock had a historic season en route to claiming the Most Outstanding Special Teams award in 2016. He kicked 60 field goals to break the CFL single-season record of 59 set by Saskatchewan’s David Ridgway in 1990. The league’s all-time leader in career FG percentage raised his personal mark to 87.7% (242 of 276).
The UCLA product made 60 of 68 field goals (88.2%) in 2016 and went a perfect 40-for-40 on converts this season. Medlock not only handled kicking duties, he also punted the ball 112 times this year for an average of 42.7 yards per punt.
Medlock and Brett Maher tied for the longest successful field goal this year at 58 yards; it was the longest field goal ever made in Winnipeg. The last Blue Bomber to take home the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award was Keith Stokes in 2004.
A native of Santa Clara, California, Medlock made five field goals from 50+ yards, went a perfect 39-for-39 inside of 40 yards and also led the CFL in kickoff average with 66.7 yards.
This was the first time Medlock was a finalist for the award.
He received 61 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
DAVARIS DANIELS, WR
After opening the campaign on the practice roster, Daniels played his first CFL game in Week 9. The Notre Dame product played in just 11 regular season games, but accumulated 885 receiving yards on 51 receptions (17.4 yards per catch) and scored nine touchdowns.
This makes it consecutive years in which a receiver has claimed the Most Outstanding Rookie honour, following Edmonton’s Derel Walker last season.
Had Daniels played a full season, he would have been on pace to record 1,448 receiving yards, averaging 80.5 yards per game.
The last Stampeder to win the award was Brett Jones in 2013. Daniels becomes the team’s fifth player to win CFL Most Outstanding Rookie and the first Calgary receiver to do so since Nik Lewis in 2004.
The native of Vernon Hills, Illinois, received 58 first-place votes.
AGF COACH OF THE YEAR
Dave Dickenson transitioned from offensive coordinator to head coach for the Stampeders in 2016 and went on to set a new standard for CFL rookie head coaches.
Dickenson led the West Division regular season and playoff champions to a 15-2-1 campaign, setting a new record for wins in a season for a first-year coach. He led the Stampeders to 14 wins in a row and a 16-game unbeaten streak – both CFL single-season records.
Dickenson joins Ron Lancaster as the only individuals to have captured both the Most Outstanding Player and Coach of the Year awards.
As a player, Dickenson started 76 career regular season games for Calgary and BC, compiling a record of 54-21-1. His .711 winning percentage trails only his current starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and Hall-of-Famer Doug Flutie for tops in league history. Dickenson owns the highest career passer rating in CFL history at 110.2 and finished his playing career with 22,913 passing yards and 154 touchdown passes.
“Congratulations to Dave Dickenson for winning the 2016 AGF Coach of the Year Award during his first year as a head coach,” said Judy Goldring, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at AGF Management Limited. “AGF is proud to partner with the CFL to present an award that recognizes the dedication, teamwork and leadership of the CFL’s coaches.”
Dickenson recorded 72 first-place votes.