July 1, 2022

O’Canada: Top 15 current Canadian players

Chris Tanyoue/CFL.ca

TORONTO — As Canada Day weekend kicks off across the country, there are plenty of great matchups with an abundance of Canadian talent to keep an eye on while you (im)patiently wait for whatever is on the grill.

Some players have been making an impact in the league for so long they have become fan-favourites and household names, others are showing signs of super-stardom through just three starts.

Here is a list of the top Canadians from across the league.

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Tunde Adeleke, DB, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Photo: Michael P. Hall/CFL.ca

Since entering the league in 2017, Tunde Adeleke has been a major factor in the defensive secondary. In 61 career games, Adeleke has recorded 149 tackles, five sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and a touchdown.

The veteran defensive back earned CFL All-Star honours in 2019 and was named as a CFL East All-Star in his last two seasons as a member of the Hamilton Tigers-Cats.

Nic Demski, REC, Winnipeg Blue Bombers 

Photo: The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ receiver, Nic Demski falls under the aforementioned fan-favourite category.

Now in his seventh season, the Winnipeg native has spent his last three season with the Blue Bombers and has recorded at least 500 yards and three receiving touchdowns in every season.

Demski has won two Grey Cups as a member of the Bombers and was named the Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian, contributing a touchdown in Winnipeg’s overtime win over Hamilton last season.

Andrew Harris, RB, Toronto Argonauts

Photo: The Canadian Press

Andrew Harris likely needs no introduction. The now 12-year veteran is one of the most prolific Canadian running backs of all-time.

Harris is a three-time Grey Cup champion, earning both the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian awards. He has also been named as a Most Outstanding Canadian and is a five-time CFL All-Star.

Harris was the league’s rushing leader from 2017 to 2019, recording three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. His 9,775 career rushing yards are the most all-time by a Canadian running back.

Cameron Judge, LB, Calgary Stampeders 

Photo: The Canadian Press

Cameron Judge has been strong defensive presence since entering the league in 2017.

Judge, the second-overall pick in the 2017 CFL draft, has gone on to play in 50 games, recording 131 tackles seven sacks, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a touchdown.

Through his first three games of 2022, Judge has 16 tackles and an interception for the Calgary Stampeders defence.

Mark Korte, OL, Edmonton Elks 

Photo: The Canadian Press

Mark Korte has been one of the most revered offensive linemen since the Ottawa REDBLACKS drafted him with their first-round pick in 2018.

A native of Spruce Grove, Alberta and an alumni of the University of Alberta Golden Bears football team, getting back to his roots, Korte now once again terrorizes opposing defensive linemen wearing the Green and Gold.

Brett Lauther, K, Saskatchewan Roughriders

Photo: Matt Smith/CFL.ca

Truro, Nova Scotia’s Brett Lauther has been a shining example of consistency. The Saskatchewan kicker has missed just 27 of his 170 career attempts and holds a career make percentage of 84.1.

Lauther has accumulated 519 career points and his career long is a 57-yarder, which he hit against the REDBLACKS in 2020.

Ted Laurent, DL, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Photo: Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

Hamilton defensive linemen, Ted Laurent is now in his 11th season in the CFL, spending eight of those 11 years with the Ticats. In Hamilton, Laurent certainly falls under the household name category from earlier.

The two-time CFL All-Star has played in 158 games, recording 202 career tackles, 48 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

Bo Lokombo, LB, BC Lions

Photo: The Canadian Press

Bo Lokombo is one of the league’s most dominant defensive players and can impact a game from multiple spots on the field.

After an incredible showing throughout the 2021 season, the veteran linebacker earned Most Outstanding Canadian honours. In 16 games last season, Lokombo recorded 66 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions, forced a fumble and scored a touchdown.

Mike Miller, FB, Winnipeg Blue Bombers 

Photo: BlueBombers.com

After going undrafted in 2011, fullback, Mike Miller went on to become one of the greatest special-teams players the CFL has ever seen.

During the 2021 season, Miller set a record for the most special teams tackles in CFL history when he recorded his 191st career special teams tackle in a game against Ottawa. Now in his 11th season, Miller has 213 tackles through 175 games played.

Henoc Muamba, LB, Toronto Argonauts

Photo: Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

Toronto linebacker, Henoc Muamba is another player on this list who likely needs no introduction.

The veteran linebacker’s career speaks for itself as a three-time CFL East All-Star, two-time CFL All-Star and 2019’s Most Outstanding Canadian.

In 120 career games, Muamba has recorded 526 tackles, 14 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, six interceptions and has scored a touchdown.

Rene Paredes, K, Calgary Stampeders 

Photo: Greg Fulmes/CFL.ca

Calgary Stampeders kicker, Rene Paredes has been one of the most consistent kicker since entering the league in 2011. The 11-year veteran has a career field goal percentage of 87.5, making 450 of his 514 attempts and has accumulated 1738 career points.

Paredes is a two-time Grey Cup champion with the Stampeders, has been named a CFL All-star four times and won the league’s award for Most Outstanding Special Teams player in 2013.

Through three games in 2022 Paredes has been perfect, making all 10 of his field goal attempts with a long of 46 yards.

Nathan Rourke, QB, BC Lions 

Photo: The Canadian Press

BC quarterback, Nathan Rourke took it upon himself to make an introduction for the 2022.

Making his debut as the Lions’ starting quarterback, he completed 26 of his 29 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns, while adding another 78 yards and two touchdowns with his legs.

If that wasn’t enough, Rourke followed up his impressive debut by setting a CFL record in his second start of the season. Rourke completed 39 of 45 passing attempts for 436 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Toronto in Week 3.

His 436 passing yards set a new sing-game record for most passing yards by a Canadian quarterback. While it is a small sample size, Rourke certainly looks destined for stardom.

Kian Schaffer-Baker, WR, Saskatchewan Roughriders 

Photo: The Canadian Press

A fourth-round pick for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2020, receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker exploded onto the scene with a breakout season in 2021.

As a rookie last season, Schaffer-Baker reeled in 47 receptions for 563 yards and two touchdowns. The young receiver aveaged 12 yards per catch and was able to turn 231 yards after the catch.

Through three games in the 2022 season, Schaffer-Baker has caught 15 of his 19 targets for 136 yards and a touchdown.

Chris Van Zeyl, OL, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 

Photo: The Canadian Press

Offensive linemen, Chris Van Zeyl is now in his 13th season. Playing professional football for 13 years is hard enough, playing offensive linemen for 13 years is simply incredible.

What’s even more impressive is that Van Zeyl converted from defensive line to offensive line in 2008 with the Toronto Argonauts.

The veteran offensive linemen has since become a three-time CFL All-Star, two-time Grey Cup Champion and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Linemen for 2019.

Lewis Ward, K, Ottawa REDBLACKS

Photo: The Canadian Press

Ottawa REDBLACKS kicker, Lewis Ward has embodied the meaning of clutch.

On his way to winning the Most Outstanding Rookie in 2018, Ward made 51 of 52 field goals and broke the CFL record for consecutive field goals in a single game with seven. Ward is the first kicker to have won the Most Outstanding Rookie award.

Ward also set the professional football record for most consecutive kicks made with 69. He has a career field goals made percentage of 89.7.

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