The Canadian Football League announced 2019 team award winners Wednesday, including the six Hamilton Tiger-Cats selections:
*Indicates unanimous selection.
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER: WR Brandon Banks*
Banks, 31, has started 16 games at wide receiver for the Tiger-Cats in 2019 and leads the CFL through Week 20 in all major receiving categories, including receptions (112), yards (1,550) and touchdowns (13), as well as targets (158). All four are career highs for Banks and his 112 receptions is a Tiger-Cats’ single-season franchise record.
In addition, the Garner, North Carolina native has also recorded 13 carries for 56 yards and one rushing touchdown, 13 punt returns for 140 yards, and five missed field goal returns for 283 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, Banks has 16 total touchdowns this season, just one shy of Chris Williams’ franchise record of 17 set in 2012. He now holds the CFL record with five-career missed field goal return touchdowns, and became Hamilton’s all-time punt return yardage leader (2,954) while also moving into second in franchise history behind Earl Winfield in both total touchdowns (60) and combined yards (12,959). Winfield had 87 career touchdowns and 14,798 combined yards as a Tiger-Cat.
Banks, a 5-7, 150-pound product of Kansas State University, has been named a CFL Top Performer four times this season, including Top Performer of the Week three times (Week 5, 9 & 20) and a Top Performer of the Month for June.
MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER: LB Simoni Lawrence
Lawrence, 30, was named Hamilton’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the third time in his career (2014, 2015). The University of Minnesota product has started 15 games at linebacker for the Tiger-Cats this season and leads the CFL in tackles (95) and defensive plays made (114) through Week 20, while tying a career high with three interceptions and adding four quarterback sacks, seven pass knock downs, one fumble recovery and four tackles for loss. He set a CFL single-game record in Week 16 at Winnipeg with 17 defensive tackles (Reggie Hunt – 16) against the Blue Bombers and was named the CFL Top Performer of the Week.
The 6-1, 231-pound native of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania has anchored a Tiger-Cats’ defensive unit that has allowed a league-low 326 points and just 30 touchdowns so far in 2019. Lawrence also now holds the Tiger-Cats’ franchise record with 530 career defensive tackles after surpassing Rob Hitchcock (484) earlier this season, and sits second behind Hitchcock (606) in total tackles with 548.
MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN: OL Brandon Revenberg
MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: OL Chris Van Zeyl
The pool of Canadian and offensive line talent on Hamilton’s roster resulted in a unique occurrence with the voting where two Canadian offensive linemen won separate awards that seemingly should overlap.
Revenberg, 26, has started 17 games at left guard for the Tiger-Cats this season and was named Hamilton’s Most Outstanding Canadian for the first time in his career. Last season, the 6-4, 301-pound native of Essex, Ontario was the East Division’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman but defensive tackle Ted Laurent took home the team award for top Canadian. Revenberg has yet to miss a game in his four-year CFL career, playing in all 74 of Hamilton’s regular season (71) and playoff games (3) since 2016.
Van Zeyl, 36, has started 16 games at right tackle for the Tiger-Cats this season. The 6-6, 312-pound native of Fonthill, Ontario is in his first season with the Tiger-Cats after 11 years with the Toronto Argonauts where he was named the team’s top offensive lineman twice (2012, 2014).
Revenberg and Van Zeyl anchor an offensive line that has helped Hamilton post league-leading rankings in 2019 in offensive points for (478), offensive points per game (28.6), offensive touchdowns (48), net offence (6,716 yards), net offence per game (395.1 yards), average yards per play (6.8), passing yards (5,347), passing yards per game (314.5), completion percentage (71.8%), average gain per pass (9.0 yards), 30+ yard pass gains (30) and passing efficiency (102.3).
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER: DB Frankie Williams
Williams, 26, ranks among CFL leaders in numerous kick return categories, including first in punt return yardage (874), 30+ yard punt returns (10) and kickoff return touchdowns (tie-1), second in punt return touchdowns (tie-1) and overall kick return touchdowns (tie-2), third in average yards per punt return (12.3), and fourth in kickoff return yardage (1,020) and average yards per kickoff return (24.9). The 5-9, 190-pound native of Tampa, Florida also sits fifth in the CFL in combined yards (1,894) and is the only player without a single yard from scrimmage in the top 10 in that category.
Williams, who has also started at defensive back in 15 of his 16 appearances (14 at cornerback, one at halfback) for the Tiger-Cats this season, is second in the CFL in pass knockdowns with 13, and has added 49 defensive tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery.
MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE: WR Jaelon Acklin
Acklin, 24, has started 16 games at wide receiver for the Tiger-Cats in 2019, registering 57 receptions on 71 targets for 701 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-2, 190-pound native of Mountain View, Missouri leads all eligible CFL rookie wide receivers in targets, receptions and receiving yards, and is fourth in receiving touchdowns. Acklin attended training camp with the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens in 2018 after four seasons (2014-17) at Western Illinois University before signing with the Tiger-Cats in March.
The award recipients were selected by voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and CFL head coaches.
In this first ballot, FRC representatives from each CFL city as well as the respective head coach submitted votes for six categories. Voters were asked to select players from their local CFL club who, through the excellence of their on-field performances, best represent the awards’ titles – Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Canadian Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, Most Outstanding Rookie, and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.