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Running back Oliveira gets nod as Bombers nominee for CFL outstanding player

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TORONTO — Zach Collaros won’t be in the running for a third straight CFL outstanding player award.

The Winnipeg quarterback has won the honour the last two years. But Canadian running back Brady Oliveira earned the Blue Bombers’ nod Wednesday for this year’s award in voting conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada and nine CFL head coaches.

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The five-foot-10, 222-pound Oliveira, a Winnipeg native, is the CFL’s rushing leader with 1,498 yards (5.9-yard average) and nine touchdowns. The 26-year-old also has 38 catches for 482 yards and four touchdowns.

National Post

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Oliveira was also a unanimous selection as Winnipeg’s top Canadian nominee.

CFL passing leader Vernon Adams Jr. of the B.C. Lions (4,769 yards), Edmonton Elks quarterback Tre Ford (2,069 yards passing, 622 yards rushing in 10 starts), Calgary Stampeders receiver Reggie Begelton (86 catches, 1,169 yards, five TDs) and Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Larry Dean (104 tackles) were the other West Division outstanding player nominees.

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly (4,123 passing yards, 248 rushing yards and eight TDs), Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Tim White (75 catches, CFL-high 1,269 yards, eight TDs), Montreal Alouettes receiver Austin Mack (78 catches, 1,154 yards, four TDs) and Ottawa Redblacks running back Devonte Williams (952 yards rushing, three TDs) were the East Division selections.

Adams, Begelton and Kelly were all unanimous picks.

The division finalists will be announced next Wednesday. The CFL will honour its top individual performers Nov. 16 at Fallsview Casino & Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont.

Joining Oliveira in the West Division’s top Canadian nominees were Ford, defensive lineman Mathieu Betts of the B.C. Lions (CFL-record 17 sacks), Calgary Stampeders linebacker Cameron Judge (91 total tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, five interceptions, fumble recovery) and Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Samuel Emilus (70 catches, 1,097 yards, six TDs).

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The East Division selections included Hamilton safety Stavros Katsantonis (five interceptions, fumble recovery), Toronto defensive back Royce Metchie (71 tackles, interception, two forced fumbles, fumble recovery), Ottawa defensive lineman Cleyon Laing (seven sacks) and Montreal defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy (five interceptions, 184 return yards, two TDs).

Ford, Judge, Emilus, Katsantonis, Laing and Dequoy joined Oliveira as unanimous picks.

Betts and Dean were both their teams’ nominees as top defensive players. The other West selections included Edmonton defensive lineman Jake Ceresna (12 sacks, tied for second in CFL), Calgary linebacker Micah Awe (118 tackles, 124 total tackles, both CFL highs) and Winnipeg defensive lineman Willie Jefferson (2019 winner, 11 sacks this season.

In the East Division, linebackers Simoni Lawrence of Hamilton (83 tackles, five sacks, interception, three forced fumbles), Adarius Pickett of Toronto (114 total tackles to stand second in CFL, five sacks, a forced fumble and two recoveries) and Tyrice Beverette of Montreal (102 total tackles to stand third overall, seven sacks, four fumble recoveries) and Ottawa defensive lineman Bryce Carter (team-high 12 sacks, tied for second in CFL) got the nod.

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Dean, Jefferson and Carter were unanimous picks.

Stanley Bryant, the CFL’s top lineman four times, is another stalwart Blue Bomber who won’t be defending his individual award this year. Jermarcus Hardrick was named Winnipeg’s finalist in 2023.

The other West Division nominees were B.C.’s Jarell Broxton, Edmonton’s Martez Ivey, Calgary’s Sean McEwen and Saskatchewan’s Logan Ferland. The East Division selections were Hamilton’s Brandon Revenberg, Toronto’s Dejon Allen, Ottawa’s Jacob Ruby and Montreal’s Pier-Olivier Lestage.

Toronto’s Javon Leake, the CFL leader in punt returns (1,153 yards) and return touchdowns (four), headlined the East Division list for outstanding special-teams player. The others include Hamilton’s Tyreik McAllister, Ottawa returner Brandin Dandridge and Montreal punter Joseph Zema.

The West nominees were B.C. kicker Sean Whyte, Edmonton defensive back Scott Hutter, Calgary kicker Rene Paredes, Saskatchewan punter Adam Korsak and Winnipeg kicker Sergio Castillo.

Leake, Whyte, Korsak and Castillo were unanimous picks.

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Defensive back Qwan’tez Stiggers, who has 53 tackles and five interceptions in 16 games, was Toronto’s nominee as outstanding rookie. The other East Division nominees were quarterbacks Taylor Powell (Hamilton) and Dustin Crum (Ottawa) and Montreal defensive back Reggie Stubblefield.

The West Division selections were Korsak, B.C. linebacker Ryder Varga, Edmonton defensive back Kai Gray, Calgary receiver Clark Barnes and Winnipeg punter Jamieson Sheahan.

Stiggers, Crum, Korsak and Varga were unanimous selections.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2023.

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