The Canadian Football League announced 2021 team award winners Wednesday, including the six Hamilton Tiger-Cats selections:
*Indicates unanimous selection.
*MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER & MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER: LB Simoni Lawrence
Lawrence, 32, was named Hamilton’s Most Outstanding Player for the first time in his career, and added his fourth Most Outstanding Defensive Player nod with the Tiger-Cats (2014, 2015, 2019). With one game remaining in the 2021 regular season, the University of Minnesota product has started all 13 games at linebacker for the Tiger-Cats to date and ranks sixth in the CFL in defensive tackles (68), tied for fifth in interceptions (3), and shares the league-lead with two interception return touchdowns.
Lawrence is also tied for seventh in the league in defensive plays made (80), adding four quarterback sacks and three pass knock downs to his totals. Earlier this season, he was named a CFL Top Performer for Week 7 and a CFL Top Performer of the Month in September.
The 6-1, 231-pound native of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania already holds the Tiger-Cats’ franchise record with 597 career defensive tackles and is second in club history with 604 total tackles. He needs just three tackles to surpass current record-holder, Rob Hitchcock, who finished with 606 total tackles in his career as a Ticat. Lawrence also currently sits 17th in CFL history with 612 career defensive tackles.
MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN: DB Tunde Adeleke
Adeleke, 26, is a nominee for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian for the first time in his career. The 5-10, 208-pound defensive back has started 11 games at safety for the Tiger-Cats in 2021, registering 43 defensive tackles, one quarterback sack, one interception and four pass knock downs. Adeleke, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria but grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, ranks third on the Tiger-Cats in defensive tackles this season despite missing two games due to injury.
*MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: OL Brandon Revenberg
Revenberg, 28, was named Hamilton’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman for the second time in his career, previously earning the honour in 2018 when he was an eventual finalist for the CFL award. The 6-4, 301-pound native of Essex, Ontario has started all 13 games at left guard for the Tiger-Cats so far this season. Through five CFL seasons, the durable offensive lineman has yet to miss a game due to injury (regular season or playoffs) and was the Tiger-Cats’ Most Outstanding Canadian nominee in 2019.
MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER: LB Nic Cross
Cross, 22, has appeared in 11 games for the Tiger-Cats so far in his rookie CFL season in 2021, registering two defensive tackles and 16 special teams tackles. His 16 special teams tackles ranks him tied for third in the league and just one behind second despite playing in two fewer games than anyone else in the top five in that category. The 5-10, 210-pound native of Regina, Saskatchewan was selected out of the University of British Columbia by the Ticats in the first round, ninth overall, in the 2021 CFL Draft.
MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE: DB Desmond Lawrence
Lawrence, 26, has appeared in 10 games for the Tiger-Cats with five starts at boundary corner this season, posting 22 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles, one quarterback sack and two interceptions. The 6-1, 185-pound native of Charlotte, North Carolina originally joined the Tiger-Cats as a free agent signing on February 17, 2021.
The award recipients were selected by voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and CFL head coaches and will advance to the next stage of voting in the lead up to the 2021 CFL Awards. In this first ballot, 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.
The 2021 CFL Awards will take place on Friday, December 10 at the Hamilton Convention Centre. Beginning at 6 p.m. ET, the evening is one of the highlights of this year’s Grey Cup Week. For the first time since its inception, the CFL Awards will be free and open to the public. Seating will be limited and fans are invited to reserve their spots now at greycupfestival.ca.