mcmaster university

November 22, 2012, TORONTO (CIS) – Kyle Quinlan, a fifth-year quarterback from McMaster University, was named CIS football player of the year, on Thursday night. 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).

Other CIS award winners announced during the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards at Koerner Hall 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 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.

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HEC CRIGHTON TROPHY – Kyle Quinlan (McMaster)

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 OUA 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 McMaster 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 nominees:

AUS: Kyle Graves, Acadia (quarterback)

RSEQ: Rotrand Sené, Montreal (running back)

CWUAA: Eric Dzwilewski, Calgary (quarterback)

PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY – Frédéric Plesius (Laval)

Plesius, who hails from Laval, Que., becomes the first Rouge et Or player to capture the Presidents’ Trophy. He was also the 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, 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 NCAA 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 NFL’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

AUS: Brett Hubbeard, StFX (linebacker)

OUA: Aram Eisho, McMaster (linebacker)

CWUAA: Mike Edem, Calgary (linebacker)

J.P. METRAS TROPHY – Ben D’Aguilar (McMaster)

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 had been set back 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,” Stefan Ptaszek said. “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:

AUS: Rob Jubenville, Saint Mary’s (defensive end)

RSEQ: Jean-Samuel Blanc, Montreal (defensive end)

CWUAA: Brett Jones, Regina (guard)

PETER GORMAN TROPHY – Shaquille Johnson (McGill)

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 league 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:

AUS: Thomas Troop, Acadia (running back)

OUA: Yannick Harou, Western (running back)

CWUAA: Brett Blaszko, Calgary (receiver)