Thursday, November 26, 2015 — WINNIPEG – On a night where players were honoured at the Shaw CFL Awards, the Ottawa REDBLACKS had four award winners on their team including Henry Burris who was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player for the second time in his career. The Shaw CFL Awards took place at Club Regent Event Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba as part of the festivities for the 103rd Grey Cup presented by Shaw.
The 2015 award winners include:
- Ottawa REDBLACKS quarterback Henry Burris (Most Outstanding Player)
- Ottawa REDBLACKS receiver Brad Sinopoli (Most Outstanding Canadian)
- BC Lions linebacker Adam Bighill (Most Outstanding Defensive Player)
- REDBLACKS offensive tackle SirVincent Rogers (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman)
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats kick returner Brandon Banks (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player)
- Edmonton Eskimos receiver Derel Walker (Most Outstanding Rookie)
- REDBLACKS head coach Rick Campbell (AGF CFL Coach of the Year)
The Commissioner's Award presented by Microsoft, in recognition of an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the league, was awarded by Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge at the Shaw CFL Awards. Former Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Bernie Custis, who became the first black starting quarterback in pro football, was the recipient. In 1951, Custis was named an all-star and a few years later won the Grey Cup with the Tiger-Cats. Custis blazed a path that was followed by other well-known black quarterbacks in the CFL like Warren Moon and Chuck Ealey.
The Most Outstanding Player Award winners were selected by a panel of voters that includes representation from the Football Reporters of Canada from all CFL markets, the national chapter of FRC voters and head coaches of the CFL. In total, 75 voters completed their ballots. No player selections were unanimous.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER & TOM PATE MEMORIAL AWARD
HENRY BURRIS, QB
Henry Burris’ 15th season in the CFL proved to be his best yet. He led the league in passing with 5,693 passing yards (a career-high), threw 26 touchdown passes and completed 70.9 percent of his passes – also a career-high.
At 40 years old, Henry Burris became the league’s oldest pivot to ever lead the league in passing yards. He led the second-best team turnaround of +10 wins after REDBLACKS finished first in the East Division this season after finishing last in 2014. Burris also helped bring playoff football back to Ottawa after the REDBLACKS hosted the Eastern Final on November 22nd, the first home playoff game in the capital since 1983.
In his career, Burris has been nominated three times for the Most Outstanding Player Award (2008, 2010 and 2015) and has now won it twice (in 2010 and 2015). He became only the ninth CFLer to win the award multiple times and first Ottawa player to win Most Outstanding Player since Tony Gabriel in 1978.
The REDBLACKS quarterback received 71 first place votes for Most Outstanding Player.
Burris was also the recipient of this year's Tom Pate Memorial Award, given to a player who displays qualities that distinguish him from his peers.
CFL MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
ADAM BIGHILL, LB
After leading the league in tackles with 121, Bighill earned the first Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award of his career. Bighill also collected four sacks, an interception and a fumble on the year to help extend the Lions’ playoff streak to 19 straight seasons.
Setting a personal high in the tackling department, Bighill is the second BC Lions player to win the award in as many years; last year Solomon Elimimian won the award. This also marks the fifth time a BC Lions player has won the award in the past ten seasons.
Bighill becomes only the seventh player to record multiple 100+ tackle seasons in the CFL.
The five-year CFL veteran and Montesano, Washington native collected 46 first-place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN PLAYER
BRAD SINOPOLI, WR
Sinopoli had a career season in his fourth campaign in the league. He finished with a career-high 86 receptions, good enough to tie for fifth in the league; he converted those receptions for a new career benchmark of 1,035 yards.
The former University of Ottawa Gee-Gee led all Canadians in receiving yards. Sinopoli is the first Ottawa player to win the award since Tony Gabriel won it four times in a row, ending in 1978. The Peterborough, ON native also becomes the first receiver to win the award since Andy Fantuz in 2010.
Sinopoli was one of four REDBLACKS receivers to eclipse the 1,000 yard barrier. He led all national players in receptions and receiving yards and finished the year with three touchdown scores.
In his first-year with Ottawa, Sinopoli led the entire CFL with 471 yards after the catch in 2015.
Sinopoli tallied 47 first place votes.
MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
SIRVINCENT ROGERS, OL
The arrival of Rogers up front helped rejuvenate the REDBLACKS’ offensive line, which stood tall in defending the pass rush by only allowing 43 sacks on the season. Rogers’ work on the field allowed Henry Burris to pass for the most yards in the league and helped four Ottawa receivers eclipse the 1,000 yard mark on the season.
The standout from University of Houston alum becomes the first Ottawa player to win the award since Rob Smith in 1992.
Rogers helped cut Ottawa’s sacks allowed from 56 to 43 in 2015.
A native of Jasper, Texas, Rogers received 58 first-place votes to win his first Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award.
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
BRANDON BANKS, K/P RETURNER
Banks scored the most return touchdowns of the 2015 season. He recorded 930 yards (12.4 yards per punt return) on 75 punt returns and scored a league-leading four touchdowns in the process.
The speedster from Garner, North Carolina notched 1,766 combined return yards, third-highest in the league. Banks set new personal bests in both kick return yards (782) and punt return yards (930) in his third season in the Canadian Football League.
Banks was only one punt-return touchdown away from tying the record held by Henry Williams and Chris Williams. He also recorded CFL’s first-ever two-point convert return on a missed convert kick attempt (127 yards).
The product of Kansas State University received 54 first-place votes. This is Banks’ first Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award.
MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
DEREL WALKER, WR
Walker had an impressive rookie season in the CFL. He finished fifth in the entire league in receiving yards with 1,110, second in receptions with 89 and finished with six touchdowns despite playing in only 12 games this season.
This marks consecutive seasons that Most Outstanding Rookie award has been awarded to an Edmonton player; Walker’s teammate Dexter McCoil won the award last season. Walker becomes the fourth Eskimos player to win the honour and the first receiver to win since Chris Matthews won it in 2012 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The product of Texas A&M led all CFL receivers in 2015 averaging 92.5 yards per game, which also is the third best average in the last 10 seasons.
The native of Hillsboro, Texas received 66 first place votes.
AGF COACH OF THE YEAR
In Ottawa’s second season under Rick Campbell, the REDBLACKS were able to set an Ottawa club record with 12 wins in a season. After finishing first in the East Division, the team hosted its first playoff game in 32 years and are set to play in their first Grey Cup since 1981.
“AGF congratulates Rick Campbell on being awarded the AGF CFL Coach of the Year Award,” said Blake C. Goldring, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at AGF Management Limited. “We are proud to be associated with this award that recognizes the value that CFL coaches bring to their teams through advice, hard work and leadership.”
This season, Ottawa was fueled by the best net offence in the CFL powered by Henry Burris; they also attacked the quarterback extremely well, leading the league with 62 sacks.
The last time an Ottawa coach won Coach of the Year was in 1975 when George Brancato won the award. Campbell becomes the fourth Ottawa coach to win the award.
Rick’s achievement makes the Campbell’s the first father-son duo to win the Annis Stukus Trophy. Rick’s father Hugh was selected as Coach of the Year in 1979 as coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.
Campbell received 54 first-place votes.