Why, Hec… the Crighton award goes to Quinlan

Toronto – Fifth-year quarterback Kyle Quinlan of the McMaster Marauders is this year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport football player of the year.

The native of South Woodslee, Ont., became the fifth member of the Marauders program to claim the Hec Crighton Trophy since the inception of the award in 1967. He joins running back Jesse Lumsden (2004), quarterback Ben Chapdelaine (2001), running back Kojo Aidoo (2000) and pivot Phil Scarfone (1984).

Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions

Other CIS award winners announced during the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards at Koerner Hall on Thursday (Nov.22) were Laval linebacker Frédéric Plesius, who captured the Presidents’ Trophy as defensive player of the year; McMaster defensive end Ben D’Aguilar, who merited the J.P. Metras Trophy as most outstanding down lineman; and McGill wide receiver Shaquille Johnson, who received the Peter Gorman Trophy as the nation’s top rookie.

The CIS recipients were honoured alongside the CFL best for the second straight year as part of the 48th Vanier Cup and 100th Grey Cup festivities.

The Vanier Cup final between Laval and McMaster is set for Friday (Nov. 23) at 7:30 p.m. at Rogers Centre, live on TSN and RDS. Pre-game coverage on TSN starts at 7 p.m.

As a prelude to the big showdown, TSN also airs a documentary on Thursday evening at 7:30, entitled “Best Game… Ever: The 47th Vanier Cup”, which takes a look back at the memorable 2011 CIS final, which also featured McMaster and Laval.

A year after a memorable national championship run that saw him claim MVP honours at the Yates Cup, Uteck Bowl and Vanier Cup, Quinlan had a fifth and final campaign for the ages with the Marauders.

In eight regular season games, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior led the country with 19 touchdown passes against only two interceptions, a CIS-low among starting pivots. He ranked second in the nation in passing yards per game (307.1), third in passing yards (2,407) and second in completion percentage, with a new single-season Ontario University Athletics record of 68.9. The ultimate dual threat, the economics student also led all CIS quarterbacks with seven rushing majors and tied for the CIS lead among signal callers with 550 yards on the ground. In the process, he set team records for most completions (162), passing yards and TD passes in a single campaign.

Selected to the second all-Canadian unit a year ago, Quinlan is named to the first CIS dream team for the first time in his brilliant career. His sensational play this fall helped the top-ranked Marauders to their first 8-0 regular season since 2003. Last summer, he was invited to the Montreal Alouettes’ training camp, a year after his first CFL experience with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“I think Kyle may be the best CIS player ever. He is just such a big game player and always has been. The bigger the game, the better he plays,” said his head coach, Stefan Ptaszek. “He is also a great leader and that is just as important a part of him as his physical abilities. Athletes like Kyle Quinlan don’t come along very often.”

Other Hec Crighton nominees included Kyle Graves, Acadia (quarterback); Rotrand Sené, Montreal (running back); and Eric Dzwilewski, Calgary (quarterback).

Plesius, who hails from Laval, Que., becomes the first Rouge et Or player to capture the Presidents’ Trophy. He was also the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) nominee in 2010.

In his fourth campaign with the Quebec City powerhouse, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound senior finished the regular season with a team-high 34.5 tackles, including 27 solo efforts, despite missing one conference match. He also had two quarterback sacks and two pass breakups in league play. His contribution went well beyond his individual statistics as he helped the Laval defence rank first in the country against the run (57.8 yards per game), second in least points allowed (12.7) and third in total yards against (298.2).

The science student, who started his university career with the Baylor Bears of the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association before transferring to Laval, was selected in the second round – 10th overall – by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in last spring’s CFL Canadian Draft. He was invited to a mini camp of the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles last May.

“Frédéric is an athlete who loves to win and is gifted with exceptional physical attributes,” said Laval head coach Glen Constantin. “He is quick and athletic, which makes him a constant threat for opposing offences. Every time he is on the field, he can make a game-changing play.”

Other nominees included Brett Hubbeard, StFX (linebacker); Aram Eisho, McMaster (linebacker); and Mike Edem, Calgary (linebacker).

D’Aguilar, a native of Hamilton, is the first-ever McMaster recipient of the J.P. Metras Trophy.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound senior terrorized quarterbacks the entire season, registering at least one sack in seven of eight league games on his way to setting a single-season CIS record with 12.5. The previous national mark of 12 was set in 1988 by Leroy Blugh of Bishop’s and tied in 1996 by Queen’s Jim Aru. The philosophy student also amassed 28 tackles, including 27 solo, forced a fumble and had a pass breakup in conference play to help the Marauders post the best defensive record in the OUA and the fourth best in the country (15.6 points per game).

One of the top prospects for the 2013 CFL Canadian Draft, D’Aguilar was ranked 10th on the initial list of the league’s Scouting Bureau in September. At the 2012 CIS East West Bowl, he tallied a team-best six solo tackles and one sack for the West squad.

“Ben is a fantastic athlete and has only scratched the surface of his potential,” said Ptaszek. “His ability to make things happen on the football field has been a great weapon for our defence and I think he has his best football in front of him. We are very proud of his efforts in Maroon.”

Other nominees included Rob Jubenville, Saint Mary’s (defensive end); Jean-Samuel Blanc, Montreal (defensive end); and Brett Jones, Regina (guard).

Johnson becomes the second McGill player to win the Peter Gorman Trophy, a feat previously accomplished by Michael Soles (1986), who went on to a long CFL career with Edmonton and Montreal.

The 19-year-old management freshman from Brampton, Ont., is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound wide-out who led the RSEQ in both receptions (61) and receiving yardage (792), achieving the fourth-highest single-season catch total in Quebec university history. His 61 receptions are a new CIS record for a rookie, eclipsing the previous mark of 57, set in 2002 by Western’s Andy Fantuz, a former Hec Crighton Trophy recipient and current CFL star.

Johnson, who also snared five touchdown receptions in conference play, was voted to the RSEQ all-star team and was the only freshman to merit all-Canadian status (second team). He ranked third in the nation in receptions, fourth in yards and ninth in yards per game (88.0). In the final week of the regular season, he tied a single-game league record with 18 receptions against Sherbrooke, equaling the mark held by former McGill star Charles-Antoine Sinotte (2007) and falling one short of the CIS national record (Andre Talbot, Laurier, 2000).

“As a person, Shaq is quiet, modest, and humble,” said McGill head coach Clint Uttley. “As a football player, he has a natural feel for the game. He’s extremely athletic and smooth. He’s not a sprinter, but more like a glider. His biggest asset is an ability to adjust to the ball when it is in the air and simply go up and get it.”

Other nominees included Thomas Troop, Acadia (running back); Yannick Harou, Western (running back); and Brett Blaszko, Calgary (receiver).


HEC CRIGHTON TROPHY (Outstanding Player)

2012 Kyle Quinlan, McMaster, QB
2011 Billy Greene, UBC, QB
2010 Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa, QB
2009 Erik Glavic, Calgary, QB
2008 Benoît Groulx, Laval, QB
2007 Erik Glavic, Saint Mary’s, QB
2006 Daryl Stephenson, Windsor, RB
2005 Andy Fantuz, Western Ontario, REC
2004 Jesse Lumsden, McMaster, RB
2003 Tommy Denison, Queen’s, QB
2002 Tommy Denison, Queen’s, QB
2001 Ben Chapdelaine, McMaster, QB
2000 Kojo Aidoo, McMaster, RB
1999 Phil Côté, Ottawa, QB
1998 Éric Lapointe, Mount Allison, RB
1997 Mark Nohra, UBC, RB
1996 Éric Lapointe, Mount Allison, RB
1995 Don Blair, Calgary, REC
1994 Bill Kubas, Wilfrid Laurier, QB
1993 Tim Tindale, Western, FB
1992 Eugene Buccigrossi, Toronto, QB
1991 Tim Tindale, Western, FB
1990 Chris Flynn, Saint Mary’s, QB
1989 Chris Flynn, Saint Mary’s, QB
1988 Chris Flynn, Saint Mary’s, QB
1987 Jordan Gagner, UBC, QB
1986 Blake Marshall, Western, RB
1985 Larry Mohr, Queen’s, RB
1984 Phil Scarfone, McMaster, QB
1983 Greg Vavra, Calgary, QB
1982 Rick Zmich, Ottawa, QB
1981 Dan Feraday, Toronto, QB
1980 Greg Marshall, Western, RB
1979 Scott Mallender, Windsor, QB
1978 Jamie Bone, Western, QB
1977 Bob Cameron, Acadia, QB/K
1976 Bob Stracina, Acadia, REC/K
1975 Brian Fryer, Alberta, REC
1974 Al Charuk, Acadia, FS
1973 Dave Pickett, Saskatchewan, QB
1972 Andrew Parici, Windsor, QB
1971 Mel Smith, Alberta, REC
1970 Paul Paddon, Ottawa, QB
1969 Dave Fleiszer, McGill, FB
1968 Mike Raham, Toronto, RB
1967 Mike Eben, Toronto REC

PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY (Outstanding Defensive Player)

2012 Frédéric Plesius, Laval
2011 Max Caron, Concordia
2010 Henoc Muamba, StFX
2009 Cory Greenwood, Concordia
2008 Thaine Carter, Queen’s
2007 Mat Nesbitt, Regina
2006 Patrick Donovan, Concordia
2005 Patrick Donovan, Concordia
2004 Mickey Donovan, Concordia
2003 Neil McKinlay, Simon Fraser
2002 Adam MacDonald, StFX
2001 David Stipe, Bishop’s
2000 Joey Mikawoz, Manitoba
1999 Mike Letendre, Saskatchewan
1998 Warren Muzika, Saskatchewan
1997 Jason Van Geel, Waterloo
1996 Derek Krete, Western
1995 Paul Frlan, StFX
1994 Cory Delaney, Waterloo
1993 Lou Tiro, Toronto
1992 Alex Eliopoulos, Saint Mary’s
1991 Ray Bernard, Bishop’s
1990 Randy Power, Mount Allison
1989 Mark Singer, Alberta
1988 Leroy Blugh, Bishop’s
1987 Brent Lewis, Western
1986 Mark Norman, UBC
1985 Darcy Kopp, Calgary
1984 Larry Oglesby, Mount Allison
1983 Tom Timlin, Carleton
1982 Mike Emery, UBC
1981 Mike Emery, UBC
1980 Rich Payne, Wilfrid Laurier

J.P. METRAS TROPHY (Outstanding Down Lineman)

2012 Ben D’Aguilar, McMaster
2011 Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, Laval
2010 Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, Laval
2009 Matt Morencie, Windsor
2008 Étienne Légaré, Laval
2007 Scott Evans, Wilfrid Laurier
2006 Chris Best, Waterloo
2005 Dominic Picard, Laval
2004 Troy Cunningham, Concordia
2003 Ibrahim Khan, Simon Fraser
2002 Israel Idonije, Manitoba
2001 Carl Gourgues, Laval
2000 Randy Chevrier, McGill
1999 Tyson St. James, UBC
1998 Garret Everson, Calgary
1997 Mike Kushnir, StFX
1996 James Repesse, Saskatchewan
1995 Harry Van Hofwegen, Carleton
1994 Paul Connery, Bishop’s
1993 Paul Chesser, Concordia
1992 Chris Konrad, Calgary
1991 Jason Rauhaus, Manitoba
1990 Chris Morris, Toronto
1989 Chris Gioskos, Ottawa
1988 Veron Stiliadis, Wilfrid Laurier
1987 Pierre Vercheval, Western
1986 Louie Godry, Guelph
1985 Mike Schad, Queen’s
1984 Boyd Young, Ottawa
1983 Jim DeSilva, Carleton
1982 Peter Langford, Guelph
1981 Tony Grassa, StFX
1980 Scott McArthur, Calgary
1979 Jim Muller, Queen’s
1978 Dave Willox, Alberta
1977 Dick Bakker, Queen’s
1976 Gerry Inglis, Alberta
1975 Mark Pothier, Saint Mary’s
1974 Bart Evans, Manitoba

PETER GORMAN TROPHY (Rookie of the Year)

2012 Shaquille Johnson, McGill
2011 Tyler Varga, Western Ontario
2010 Eric Dzwilewski, Calgary
2009 Linden Gaydosh, Calgary
2008 Jordan Verdone, Waterloo
2007 Liam Mahoney, Concordia
2006 Dalin Tollestrup, Calgary
2005 Martin Gagné, Montréal
2004 Kyle Williams, Bishop’s
2003 Maxime Gagnier, Montréal
2002 Andy Fantuz, Western
2001 Jeremy Steeves, StFX
2000 Jean-Frédéric Tremblay, Laval
1999 Sébastien Roy, Mount Allison
1998 Kojo Aidoo, McMaster
1997 Paul Carty, StFX
1996 Jeff Johnson, York
1995 Éric Lapointe, Mount Allison
1994 Andre Arlain, StFX
1993 Jerome Pathon, Acadia
1992 Sean Reade, Western
1991 Dominic Zagari, Manitoba
1990 Bill Kubas, Wilfrid Laurier
1989 Chris Banton, Ottawa
1988 Grant Keaney, Mount Allison
1987 Dan Farthing, Saskatchewan
1986 Michael Soles, McGill
1985 Mark Brown, Carleton
1984 Jeff Funtasz, Alberta
1983 Paul Nastasiuk, Wilfrid Laurier
1982 Mike Fabilli, Ottawa
1981 Glenn Steele, UBC
1980 John Hutchinson, Mount Allison
1979 Joey Tynes, StFX
1978 John Lowe, Guelph
1977 Gord Goodwin, Calgary
1976 Jim Reid, Wilfrid Laurier.