(Vancouver) The BC Lions Football Club is pleased to announce the following players have been nominated by the local chapter of the Football Reporters of Canada for 2016 CFL Outstanding Player awards:
Jonathon Jennings, Outstanding Player: The first of what could be numerous nominations for the incredibly talented Lions pivot, Jennings is set to become just the fourth quarterback in team history to hit the 5,000-yard passing plateau. Playing in the same division as veteran standouts Bo Levi Mitchell and Mike Reilly, Jennings has been equally effective in leading a dynamic offence and a resurgent Lions team to 20th consecutive playoff berth in just his second season with 4,919 yards on 354 completions and 24 touchdowns.
Solomon Elimimian, Outstanding Defensive Player: If there was a comeback player of the year award he’d likely win that too as Elimimian returns to the podium as the club’s defensive nominee just a little more than a year after a season-ending Achilles injury in 2015.
Leading the CFL with 128 tackles, Elimimian sits 15 defensive stops back of his own all-time record of 143 set in 2014. He’s also 14 tackles shy of a new Lions all-time career mark currently held by Dante Marsh (574). It would take a monumental effort in the final regular season game of the year Saturday, but don’t rule out him getting one or both as the seven-year vet has tallied at least 13 stops twice this season and hit double-digits on four occasions. This is Solomon’s second team nomination as Outstanding Defensive Player.
Jovan Olafioye, Outstanding Lineman: Arguably one of the most dominant and talented offensive lineman to have ever pulled on a Lions jersey, Olafioye tallies his seventh-consecutive season as the team’s nominee in the category. Making the difficult switch from right to left tackle this year, Jovan hasn’t missed a beat and he hasn’t missed a game either, as he prepares to extend his consecutive games-played streak to 126 including Saturday’s regular season finale.
Shawn Gore, Outstanding Canadian: This is Shawn’s first selection as the Lions’ Outstanding Canadian and comes in his seventh season with the club. Hauling in 59 receptions for 835 yards and three touchdowns, he sits just a yard off his own career-high for receiving yards which he set in 2011.
Chris Rainey, Outstanding Special Teams Player: A threat to score each time he touches the ball, Rainey picks-up his second-consecutive OSTP nod. Currently holding down third spot in average return yardage in both kickoff and punt return categories, the speedster also has two punt returns for touchdowns this season. Seeing increasing time on offence, Rainey leads the CFL with 2,760 combined yards, more than 300 yards better than the next player in the category. Chris’ selection was a unanimous decision by voters.
Antonio Johnson, Outstanding Rookie: Making the transition to three-down football is a challenge for many first-year international players, but perhaps greatest for those playing offensive line. Starting 14 games including this Saturday’s game versus Saskatchewan, Johnson has been a quick study and a steady performer at right tackle helping the club to a CFL-best 1,900 rushing yards and earning him a unanimous selection by voters.
East and West Division winners will be announced on Thursday, November 12.
The next BC Lions home game is at 4:00 pm on Saturday, November 5 versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders