February 29, 2024

Landry: Predicting the next 10 Most Outstanding Canadians

Minas Panagiotakis/CFL.ca

I’m guessing that column by Matt Cauz last month was a hit, because here we are again.

My CFL.ca colleague was challenged with picking the next 10 Most Outstanding Players and it looks to me like he pretty well nailed the assignment.

Kristina Costabile, senior manager, web and digital content, must have thought so as well because she shot me a note to ask if I’d do the same kind of thing for Most Outstanding Canadian.

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I could just reasonably assume that Brady Oliveira will win it for the next five years running and cut my workload in half, I thought. Genius. But lazy. Oliveira is most definitely capable of stringing a few together; Calgary running back Jon Cornish won it three straight times, from 2012 to 2014.

And that could be my prediction, that Oliveira will dominate this award for the next half-decade. But, nah, that ain’t right. That’s not a reflection on Oliveira, either. It’s a reflection on the Canadian talent in the league and a realization that, even when a giant of the game –Russ Jackson — was dominating, he was beaten out by other top-notch Canucks, spreading his four MOCs out over 11 seasons.

2024: Running back Brady Oliveira

A second straight one for the superhero running back. A li’l less on the ground (hello, Chris Streveler), a li’l more through short passes in space and if I have my way, the occasional fly pattern! Tons of touchdowns. Cauz already picked him as the MOP for this season so I’ll be a good team guy and back Matt up on that one.

2025: Free safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy

Marc Antoine Dequoy could be the first defensive back to win Outstanding Canadian in 37 years (Peter Power/CFL.ca)

A defensive back has not won this award since Winnipeg’s Scott Flagel was named back in 1987. You kidding me with that? Dequoy’s skill at being in the right place at the right time pays off with lots of turnovers and a spot at the podium on awards night.

2026: Receiver Tyson Philpot

Two in a row for the Alouettes! Philpot’s emergence as a go-to guy was cemented with his game-winning touchdown catch against the Blue Bombers last November. He’ll be in the mix for the award the next two years but when he sets a record for yards after catch by a receiver in 2026, he’ll break through.

2027: Linebacker Ben Hladik

Hladik is already a force to be reckoned with, having surpassed 100 tackles last season with the BC Lions. He’ll keep piling up those stats over the years. When he breaks Alex Singleton’s record for tackles in a season by a Canadian (123), he cops the award, edging Oliveira in the voting. (intriguing! One of these guys is in the East when this happens!)

2028: Defensive lineman Lake Korte-Moore

Taken third overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in last year’s draft, Korte-Moore is an impressive athlete, who says his days as a serious skier helped him with lower-body explosiveness and footwork.

He dipped his feet in the world of wrestling this past off-season, after reps from WWE invited him to their performance centre. He fancies himself an Olympic bobsleigh competitor when football is done.

At six-foot-four, 262 pounds, Korte-Moore is going to be a handful for offensive linemen for the foreseeable future. In 2028, he’ll be 28-years-old, potentially smack dab in the prime of his career.

2029: Running back Brady Oliveira

Coming off of the season he had, Oliveira is an easy pick for multiple Outstanding Canadian wins, but there’s lots of Canadian talent out there (Thomas Srklj/CFL.ca)

My goodness, he’s done it again. At the age of 32, Oliveira has a resurgent season for the ages, and in the words of Vin Scully in the movie ‘For the Love of the Game’ he’s able to “push the sun back up in the sky and give us one more day of summer.” Next stop, hall of fame.

2030: Whoever is drafted first overall this May unless it’s an offensive lineman

Offensive linemen don’t win this award. They just don’t. Not since Tony Pajaczkowski, anyway. The Calgary Stampeders’ guard, in fact, is the only offensive lineman to ever win MOC and he did that in 1961.

So who are the likely suspects here?

According to the CFL Scouting Bureau winter rankings, a couple of tight ends fit the bill. Penn State’s Theo Johnson is a possibility as is Arizona’s Tanner McLachlin. Maybe a linebacker like Geoffrey Cantin-Arku or Melique Straker.

There are no running backs listed in the top 20, by the way. Maybe this is another win for Brady Oliveira.

2031: Offensive lineman Isaiah Adams

Holy moly, an offensive lineman won the thing! Did you know that no OL has won MOC since Calgary’s Tony Pajaczkowski did it in 1961?

After playing a year at Laurier, Adams headed south to start for the Illinois Fighting Illini and he was named a captain in 2023. His stock has risen and risen, and he finds himself atop the CFL Scouting Rankings at present.

2032: Linebacker Justin Cloutier

The first-year Laval Rouge et Or defender was named the winner of the Peter Gorman Trophy as U SPORTS Rookie of the Year in 2023.

That’s a great start for the 20-year-old. The first Laval player to be named national rookie of the year was defensive lineman Mathieu Betts, back in 2015.

2033: My nephew John

He’s never played football — not yet, anyway — but so what? At the age of 13, he’s got time. It’s not like we’ve never seen relatively late-comers to the game pick it up quickly and go on to stardom.

John’s big and strong and he plays soccer and he skis, so he’s got athleticism. Competitive streak? Oh yeah. And he’s a heck of a chess player too, so he’s got smarts. If you’re thinking, “he’ll just be 23 at the time, how’s that work?” Let me fill you in on something else: kid’s gonna be Most Outstanding Rookie, too.

So there you have it. Let’s circle back in 10 years to see how I did here. But mostly so I can brag about my nephew, John.

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