With files from CIS-SIC.ca
QUEBEC CITY – Andrew Buckley, a fifth-year quarterback from the University of Calgary, was named the outstanding player in CIS football for the second consecutive season on Thursday evening during the Sun Life Financial All-Canadian Banquet presented by Mallette.
The kinesiology student from Calgary joined an exclusive club of multiple Hec Crighton Trophy winners, including Saint Mary’s quarterback Chris Flynn (1988, 1989, 1990), Western fullback Tim Tindale (1991, 1993), Mount Allison running back Éric Lapointe (1996, 1998), Queen’s quarterback Tommy Denison (2002, 2003), as well as pivot Erik Glavic, who claimed the honour with Saint Mary’s (2007) and Calgary (2009).
Other CIS award recipients announced at the Hilton Quebec hotel were Guelph linebacker John Rush, who captured the Presidents’ Trophy as the stand-up defensive player of the year; Manitoba defensive tackle David Onyemata, who merited the J.P. Metras Trophy as most outstanding down lineman; Laval defensive end Mathieu Betts, who received the Peter Gorman Trophy as top rookie; Queen’s wide receiver Curtis Carmichael, who claimed the Russ Jackson Award recognizing excellence in football, academics and citizenship; and Calgary head coach Wayne Harris Jr., winner of the Frank Tindall Trophy.
The awards gala was held as part of the CIS championship celebrations. The University of Montreal Carabins face-off against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the ArcelorMittal Vanier Cup presented by Promutuel Assurance on Saturday at 1 p.m. EST at TELUS-UL Stadium in Quebec City.
Coverage gets underway with pre-game shows at noon and 12:30 pm, respectively. The 51st CIS football final will also be streamed live on the web at CIS-SIC.tv.
“Sun Life Financial is thrilled and proud to partner with Canadian Interuniversity Sport for the presentation of the 50th Vanier Cup banquet,” said Robert Dumas, President, Sun Life Financial, Quebec. “I salute the determination, passion and commitment of the players who excel not only on the field but also in the classroom. Among those exceptional models are without a doubt the leaders of tomorrow and maybe our future colleagues.”
HEC CRIGHTON TROPHY – ANDREW BUCKLEY (Calgary)
Buckley is the first player in CIS football history to win the national player-of-the-year award and be named a Top 8 Academic All-Canadian, the commendation for which he received last week from the Governor General at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
After his remarkable 2014 season where he won both the Hec Crighton Trophy and the Russ Jackson Award, Buckley found a way to further enhance his on-field performance for the Dinos in 2015.
After being selected by Calgary with the final pick of last spring’s Canadian Football League draft, he attended the Stampeders’ training camp in the summer and came back for his final year of university football with more poise, confidence, and technical skill than ever. He led the Dinos to an 8-0 record in the regular season and the No. 1 national ranking for eight straight weeks, and he piloted an offence that set multiple team and individual records over the course of the season.
Buckley tossed for more than 400 yards in five of his eight conference games, finishing the year with 3,162 passing yards – a new CIS single-season record – while his completion percentage was the best in Canada West history at 72 per cent. Along the way, he threw just one interception on 246 pass attempts while tossing for 19 touchdowns. He averaged 12.9 yards per passing attempt and 395.3 yards per game, adding 33 carries for 256 rushing yards on the season and running for a trio of touchdowns.
The offence he directed set school records in points (471 – also a Canada West record), touchdowns (53), passing yards (3695), total yards (5606) and field goals (26). He wraps up his stellar five-year career as the most accurate passer in program history and is second on Calgary’s all-time passing list with 8,199 yards – despite starting for just three seasons.
“Andrew Buckley is the offensive leader both on and off the field,” said Dinos head coach Wayne Harris, Jr. “His decision-making, accuracy as a passer, poise and confidence inspire and elevate the play of his teammates. He leads by example and has broken many records as a result of his work ethic and commitment to success.”
Former Dinos to have won the Hec Crighton Trophy include Erik Glavic (2009), Don Blair (1995) and Greg Vavra (1983).
AUS: Ashton Dickson, running back, StFX (Ottawa, Ont. / Arts)
RSEQ: Trenton Miller, quarterback, Concordia (Buffalo, N.Y. / MBA)
OUA: Will Finch, quarterback, Western (Burlington, Ont. / Social Science)
PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY – JOHN RUSH (Guelph)
Rush is the first Guelph player to receive the Presidents’ Trophy.
In his fifth and final CIS campaign, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker was nothing short of sensational for the Gryphons, who captured their first Yates Cup title since 1996. The three-time team captain was named MVP of the OUA final following a monstrous 12-tackle, three-sack performance. In the eight-game regular season, Rush led the country with 60 tackles – 20 more than any of his teammates – while also contributing 8.5 tackles for losses, three sacks, two interceptions, a pair of pass breakups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
The Niagara Falls, Ont., native is the unquestioned leader both on and off the field for a Gryphon defence which ranked in the CIS Top 10 in almost every major category this season, including fourth in interceptions and sacks, seventh against the run and in points allowed, and eighth in total yards allowed.
Rush first burst onto the scene at U of G as a highly-touted prospect out of the Niagara region. After impressing in his 2011 rookie season as a 17-year-old, he was named an OUA all-star in his second year after starting seven games at middle linebacker and recording 41 tackles. Unfortunately, his 2013 season was cut short after blowing out his knee in practice but he was able to return in time for the 2014 campaign, in which he played in every game.
“People see the success that John has had on the field this season, but many are unaware of the incredible amount of adversity he has overcome off of the field,” said Gryphons head coach Stu Lang. “A few years ago, John suffered a freak injury to his knee in practice that derailed his career. He worked incredibly hard during recovery to make it back onto the football field, and there is not a more deserving guy to receive this prestigious award.”
AUS: Drew Morris, linebacker, Acadia (Ottawa, Ont. / Business Administration)
RSEQ: Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou, defensive end, Montreal (Lyster, Que. / Mechanical Engineering)
CWUAA: Robert Woodson, defensive back, Calgary (Calgary, Alta. / Arts)
J.P. METRAS TROPHY – DAVID ONYEMATA (Manitoba)
Onyemata is the fourth Manitoba player to merit the J.P. Metras Trophy, following in the footsteps of original winner Bart Evans (1974), Jason Rauhaus (1991) and Israel Idonije (2002), who went on to an 11-year NFL career.
The native of Lagos, Nigeria had a tremendous fourth season with the Bisons, earning his second straight Canada West all-star nod and a first selection as an all-Canadian. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound nose tackle was a force throughout the campaign as he was often double-teamed and created room for his teammates. A starter in all eight league games, he was second in the conference and ninth in the country in both sacks (5) and sack yards (34). He also ranked second in Canada West with 7.5 tackles for losses and 12th with 38.5 tackles, while also contributing one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Onyemata, 23, was the top-ranked CIS player, and second overall, on the first CFL Scouting Bureau prospects list of the season published on Sept. 4. Since his Bisons debut in 2012, he has played in 31 of 32 conference games and all seven playoff contests.
“David Onyemata winning the J.P. Metras is one of the great individual accomplishments over the many years of CIS national football awards,” said Bisons head coach Brian Dobie. “This is a young man from Nigeria who came to Canada to study as an international student and not only had he never played football, he had never actually seen a practice or the game of football in his entire life! He came into this program as raw as possible but with tremendous potential. It says everything about David’s character, perseverance and commitment to excellence that he would continually move forward through the last five years with the Bisons to achieve this tremendous accomplishment. We are proud and recognize the significance of David being selected for the Metras. He is a great representative for this prestigious national award.”
AUS: Jesse St. James, defensive end, Acadia (Pincourt, Que. / Business Administration)
RSEQ: Charles Vaillancourt, guard, Laval (Coaticook, Que. / Business Administration)
OUA: Kwaku Boateng, defensive end, Wilfrid Laurier (Milton, Ont. / Business)
PETER GORMAN TROPHY – MATHIEU BETTS (Laval)
Betts is the third Laval player to claim the Peter Gorman Trophy after quarterback Hugo Richard, who was honoured a year ago, and receiver Jean-Frédéric Tremblay, the 2000 winner. The Rouge et Or becomes the second program to produce back-to-back CIS rookies of the year, a feat previously accomplished by Calgary with Linden Gaydosh in 2009 and Eric Dzwilewski in 2010.
Expectations were high coming out of CEGEP for the Montreal native but he delivered in his university debut, and then some. Inserted in the starting lineup from day one, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound freshman terrorized opposing quarterbacks the entire season. He finished the eight-game regular schedule with an eye-popping 12 sacks, a new national record for a rookie. His impressive sack total tied the school standard set a year ago by Vincent Desloges and left him only half a sack shy of the CIS mark.
His best performance came at home on Oct. 25 against nationally-ranked Sherbrooke, which had allowed only six sacks in six games heading into the contest. Betts took down all-star pivot Jérémi Roch behind the line of scrimmage four times en route to CIS player-of-the-week honours.
Named the RSEQ defensive player of the year in each of his last two seasons at the CEGEP level, Betts finished his first campaign at Laval with 24 tackles, including 19 solo, three forced fumbles, three pass breakups and one fumble recovery. In addition to his CIS-leading 12 sacks, he also ranked third in the nation with 14.5 tackles for losses.
“Mathieu is by far the most decorated recruit we have ever had here at Laval. Whether in high school, CEGEP, at the Canada Cup or the world junior championships in Kuwait, he has won every possible award,” said Rouge et Or head coach Glen Constantin. “After taking several recruiting visits to major NCAA football programs and serious consideration, Mathieu opted for our CIS institution. On the field, he is truly a force attracting the opponent’s attention. He has been double teamed, chipped and had slide protection to him all year long. He came one half sack short of the national record as a freshman, a standard which had been set by several prominent veteran players. I must also mention that Mathieu is a very humble person and that he is a great teammate and is appreciated by everyone.”
AUS: Donovan Glave, defensive tackle, Mount Allison (Brampton, Ont. / Arts)
OUA: Jesse Amankwaa, running back, York (Etobicoke, Ont. / Health & Society)
CWUAA: Jamel Lyles, running back, Manitoba (Surrey, B.C. / University 1)
FRANK TINDALL TROPHY – WAYNE HARRIS JR (Calgary)
The 2006 recipient of the Gino Fracas Award as the national volunteer coach of the year, Harris is the first Dinos bench boss to earn the Frank Tindall Trophy since Peter Connellan did it twice, in 1977 and 1985.
After a nearly 40-year association with the University of Calgary as a player, alumnus, assistant coach and defensive coordinator, Wayne Harris, Jr. became the sixth head coach in Dinos history in February – and he hit the ground running.
In his first season at the helm, Harris guided the Dinos to just their second undefeated season in school history, with an average margin of victory over 40 points. The Dinos were ranked No. 1 in the CIS Top 10 for eight consecutive weeks, the longest stint atop the rankings for the program in three decades. His team produced a school-record 16 Canada West all-stars, including four of the five positions on the offensive line, all three linebackers, and four of the five spots in the defensive backfield, and boasted 11 All-Canadians, nine of them on the first unit.
His team finished tops in the nation in passing yards and was top-three in virtually every offensive category, led by Hec Crighton winner Andrew Buckley at quarterback. Defensively, the Dinos were just as good: they led CIS in interceptions and fumble recoveries and were tops in the conference in points and yards allowed. On average, the Dinos marched nearly 300 yards further per game than did their opponents (702 vs. 411).
Harris’ unwavering commitment to excellence extends past the football field to the classroom and the community as well, a result of his 30-year career as an educator in the Calgary high school system. His team-first approach has been embraced by the players and coaching staff, enabling players to show leadership on and off the field – resulting in a dominant performance during the 2015 season.
“Wayne has done an outstanding job leading our football program,” said University of Calgary Athletic Director Christine Stapleton. “Along with his staff, he has created a culture of excellence and accountability and empowered our student-athletes to take significant leadership positions, and success has been the result. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honour.”
AUS: Gary Waterman, StFX
RSEQ: Glen Constantin, Laval
OUA: Greg Marshall, Western
RUSS JACKSON AWARD – CURTIS CARMICHAEL (Queen’s)
Carmichael follows in the footsteps of Curt McLennan (2003), Jock Climie (1989) and inaugural winner Charlie Galunic (1986), the three previous Russ Jackson Award recipients in Queen’s history.
In his fourth season with the Gaels, the 5-foot-10, 193-pound receiver led the team with 34 receptions and finished the year with 520 yards and four touchdowns. While Carmichael was an exemplary leader on field and in the locker room, it is his generosity with his time on campus and in the community that sets him apart.
Last year, Carmichael was an Academic All-Canadian and in a few months will be the first member of his family to graduate from university. Upon completion of his undergrad, the physical and health education student-athlete plans to enroll in teacher education next year. When he isn’t in the classroom or on the football field, Carmichael is a member of an organization called Nightlight which meets weekly with victims of drug addiction, disability or homelessness. After growing up in a tough Scarborough, Ont., neighbourhood, he is now an engaged member of the Kingston community, volunteering as a physical education teacher at two local high schools with a high number of single parent and low income families.
On campus, Carmichael is a member of a student group of volunteers who assist young children with intellectual disabilities in the “Queen’s Adapted Games”. This past summer, he volunteered for three weeks in Romania with “International Teams Canada” on “Impact Romania”, an initiative that visits local orphanages. Carmichael, who is a very spiritually orientated student-athlete, leads the weekly chapel group on the football team. He has been involved with Athletes in Action and is a member of “Navigators”, a group on campus that regularly meets with younger university students for bible study and to promote a healthy balanced living.
“Curtis has become an excellent football player and a team leader here at Queen’s,” said Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan. “His commitment to his team, university and community puts him in a class all by himself. I along with the entire university are extremely proud of him.”
AUS: Will Wojcik, defensive back, Acadia (Ottawa, Ont. / Kinesiology)
RSEQ: Jérémi Roch, quarterback, Sherbrooke (LaSalle, Que. / Administration)
CWUAA: DJ Lalama, linebacker, Manitoba (Winnipeg, Man. / Extended Education)