(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) – Atlantic University Sport has announced the 2016 football major award winners and all-stars as selected by the conference’s four head coaches following regular season play.
The awards were announced at the 2016 AUS football banquet Friday evening on the St. Francis Xavier University campus in Antigonish, N.S.
OUTSTANDING PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tivon Cook, StFX (Chris Flynn Trophy)
Quarterback Tivon Cook of the first-place StFX X-Men has been selected as the Atlantic University Sport outstanding player of the year.
A fifth-year arts student from Scarborough, Ont., Cook led the AUS in nearly every passing category this season, including completions (174), attempts (251), completion percentage (69.3%), yards (2,537) and yards per game (317.1). He also led in touchdowns with 21 on the season.
The five-foot-nine, 205-lb senior broke several StFX school records this season. His six touchdown passes in StFX’s final regular season game versus Mount Allison tied a school record for the most in a game as he went 22 for 27.
He broke the X-Men records for passing yards in a single season (2,537), career passing attempts (871), career passing completions (536) and career passing yards (6,943).
He now sits tied for second in the AUS record book for passing touchdowns in a single game, passing yards in a single season, career passing attempts, career passing completions and third in career passing yards.
“Tivon Cook, in my opinion, is a very worthy recipient of this award,” said StFX head coach Gary Waterman. “He’s worked hard to prepare himself for each and every game, and the results on game day have been evident. He’s also an exceptional student of the game, and his teammates have benefitted from his leadership this season.”
The is the second consecutive year a member of the StFX X-Men has been named AUS’s most outstanding player. Former X-Men standout Ashton Dickson earned the honour last season.
Cook now becomes the Atlantic conference nominee for the Hec Crighton Trophy as U Sports outstanding player of the year. The honour has never been won by a member of the StFX X-Men.
Former Saint Mary’s quarterback Erik Glavic and former Mount Allison star Eric Lapointe are the most recent Atlantic conference players to take home the Hec Crighton Trophy.
Lapointe won the award both in 1996 and 1998 while Glavic was the 2007 recipient.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jakob Loucks, Mount Allison
The AUS rookie of the year is Mount Allison quarterback Jakob Loucks.
The five-foot-10, 195-lb psychology student from Cornwall, Ont. played in all eight of the Mounties’ regular season games this year, en route to a second-place finish in the conference standings. He also played in their postseason win in this year’s semifinal win over Acadia.
Loucks finished the regular season second in the AUS in completions (122), attempts (225) and touchdowns (five). He finished the season with 1,325 passing yards.
Loucks also added 404 yards rushing on 56 carries and a rushing touchdown.
“Jakob has had an outstanding rookie season and is very deserving of this award,” said Mounties head coach Scott Brady. “He has improved each and every week and is a true playmaker at the quarterback position—he consistently turns bad plays into great ones. His toughness is incredible and has quickly won him the respect of everyone in our program. He is a special player with a very bright future ahead of him.”
This is the third consecutive year a player from Mount Allison has been selected as the AUS rookie of the year. Loucks’ current teammates Donovan Glave and Chris Reid earned the honour in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Loucks now becomes the Atlantic conference nominee for the national rookie of the year award.
Mount Allison’s Sebastien Roy (1999) and StFX’s Jeremy Steeves (2001) are the most recent AUS winners of the Peter Gorman Trophy as the top rookie in the nation.
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DeAndre Smith, Saint Mary’s (Tony Proudfoot Trophy)
Saint Mary’s defensive back DeAndre Smith of Dunn, North Carolina has been named the AUS outstanding defensive player of the year.
The first-year arts student posted 45 tackles this regular season—36 solo and 18 assisted—for an average of 5.6 tackles per game.
Smith had 11 tackles for losses of 48 total yards on the season, including three sacks for losses of 12 total yards.
His defensive statistics also included five pass breakups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception return for 16 yards.
“DeAndre Smith being named Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year is a great honour for Saint Mary’s University, his teammates, and himself,” said Huskies head coach James Colzie III. “DeAndre has fought through a lot of adversity in his life to get to this point. We are extremely proud of him and all his accomplishments this past season.”
The last member of a Saint Mary’s team to earn the AUS outstanding defensive player of the year award was former Huskies standout Jonathan Langa who earned the honour in 2014.
Smith will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Presidents’ Trophy awarded to the national outstanding defensive player of the year.
Langa is the most recent Saint Mary’s player to earn the national honour. He won it in 2014.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Gary Waterman, StFX (Larry Uteck Trophy)
StFX X-Men head coach Gary Waterman has been chosen by his peers as the Atlantic conference coach of the year for the second consecutive season.
In his eighth year at the helm of the StFX program, Waterman led the defending AUS champion X-Men to a 7-1 regular season record and a first-place finish in the Atlantic conference standings.
The X-Men also earned the hosting rights to the Subway AUS Loney Bowl.
Waterman’s X-Men led the conference this regular season in points per game (37.4), first downs per game (21.1), passing yards per game (323.6) and total net yards offense per game (484.5).
StFX was first in the league in passing touchdowns with 22, field goals (17-24) and point-after attempts (31-31). They were also first in defensive interceptions with 16 on the season.
In the three seasons prior to his time as head coach, Waterman served as defensive coordinator with the X-Men. His hiring as head coach in 2009 marked the first time in StFX history that an alumnus has led the football program.
Waterman played with the X-Men from 1988-1992 where he proved to be an impressive player on both sides of the ball, playing as a running back and a defensive back.
A three-time AUS all-star, Waterman was named StFX MVP for three seasons and was a two-time captain of the X-Men.
Waterman now becomes the AUS nominee for the Frank Tindall Trophy awarded to the national coach of the year.
Former head coach of the Mount Allison Mounties, Kelly Jeffrey, is the most recent AUS coach to receive the national honour, which he was awarded in 2014.
John Stevens is the only StFX head coach to have ever earned the CIS award. He won the Frank Tindall Trophy in 1997.
OUTSTANDING LINEMAN OF THE YEAR: Vernon Sainvil, StFX
Vernon Sainvil of the StFX X-Men has been named the Atlantic University Sport outstanding lineman of the year.
The six-foot-four, 330-lb offensive lineman played in all eight regular season games for the X-Men who managed a 7-1 record and a first-place finish in the AUS standings.
Sainvil, a fourth-year arts student from Malden, Massachusetts, anchored a StFX offensive line which led the conference in yards per game with 484.5 and in passing with 323.6 yards per game. The X-Men were second overall in rushing with 160.9 yards per game.
In addition to being named the league’s top lineman, Sainvil was also named to the 2016 AUS all-star team for the third consecutive year. He was also named a CIS second team all-Canadian the last two seasons.
Sainvil’s offensive line allowed running back and 2016 AUS all-star Jordan Socholotiuk to become just the third-ever player from StFX to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season.
“Vernon sets the tone for our offence, and our team, in many ways,” said X-Men head coach Gary Waterman. “He’s a physical player who creates a real presence on our offensive line, and he’s done a great job this season anchoring that unit.”
Sainvil will represent the conference as the nominee for the J.P. Metras Trophy which was last brought back to the AUFC in 1997 when StFX’s Mike Kushnir was named the CIS’s top lineman.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Will Wojcik, Acadia
Acadia Axemen defensive back and team captain Will Wojcik is the 2016 Atlantic University Sport student-athlete community service award recipient and will be the conference nominee for the prestigious Russ Jackson Award.
Named after CFL quarterback Russ Jackson, this award recognizes a Canadian university football player who excels on the field, in academics, and in community service.
This is the second consecutive year Wojcik has earned the honour.
A fifth-year kinesiology student from Ottawa, Ont., he boasted a 4.0 GPA last year in the classroom and has a cumulative GPA of 3.83. He is a four-time academic all-Canadian on pace to repeat again this season.
Wojcik was the 2015 recipient of the Honours Summer Research Award. He also represented Acadia at the 2015 Certified Society of Exercise Physiology conference in Hamilton, Ont. where he presented his honours project research.
On the field for the Axemen this season, Wojcik had 38.5 total tackles for the Acadia defence—28 solo and 21 assisted. He had 4.5 tackles for losses of eight total yards, including 1.5 sacks for losses of four yards.
His stats also included three pass breakups, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Wojcik was also heavily involved in his community this season, volunteering at Acadia with the Cardiac Rehab program, the Acadia Active Aging program, the Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) and the Acadia High Performance Centre.
He is the vice president and co-founder of the Exercise is Medicine club at Acadia and a member of the Acadia Players Association. He has also volunteered with his team for Run for the Cure and the Alzheimer’s donation drive.
“Will is a great ambassador for Acadia and our football team,” said Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins. “Will has been able to juggle a full schedule of classes as a four-time academic all-Canadian, start at field half the last three years and be an integral part of the community through volunteering on campus and throughout the Valley.”
“We have been lucky to see Will grow up right in front of our eyes from when he came in as a 17-year-old freshmen to the 23-year-old fifth-year senior he is now. I can guarantee Will is going to be extremely successful in whatever route he so chooses.”
This is the third consecutive year a member of the Acadia Axemen has been awarded the student-athlete community service award. Wojcik’s former teammate Sean Stoqua earned the honour in 2014.
The last AUS student-athlete to earn the national honour in this category was Mount Allison’s Dan Parker who won the award in 2005.
VOLUNTEER COACH OF THE YEAR: Jim Daley, StFX (Phil Hughes Award)
Jim Daley of the StFX X-Men is the 2016 recipient of the Phil Hughes Award and the AUS nominee for the national Gino Fracas Award.
This award is given annually to an assistant coach who does not make their full-time living coaching football for the university.
Daley, a native of Ottawa, Ont., joined the X-Men coaching staff in 2015 as the special teams coordinator. He has experience coaching every level of football in Canada over the past 38 years, including an extensive background with the CFL, having been a coach and administrator in the league since 1991.
Coach Daley served as CFL head coach with Winnipeg (2004-05) and Saskatchewan (1996-98), guiding the Roughriders to the 1997 Grey Cup game. He also served as the head football coach for the University of Ottawa and spent time as an assistant coach with Carleton prior to joining the CFL ranks.
As special teams coordinator for the X-Men, Daley has helped to develop the leading punt returner (Kaion Julien-Grant, 14.1-yard average), punter (Keiran Burnham, 36.0-yard average), and kicker (Jonathan Heidebrecht, 82 points) in the conference. All three players were named to the 2016 AUS all-star team.
Head coach Gary Waterman credits Daley with instilling in the program what he described as an unparalleled appreciation for special teams which has translated into great success on the field.
“Coach Daley is a tireless worker who arrives early to campus each morning and makes himself available to his players throughout the day,” said Waterman. “Daley’s fiery coaching style injects energy into every X-Men practice, and his methods are effective due to the close relationships he creates with his players.”
“Through his role as Special Teams Coordinator, Daley has positively impacted every facet of our football team with his focus on blocking and tackling fundamentals, as well as his overall mentorship of our players,” continued Waterman. “Daley has also helped develop his peers on the coaching staff by granting them access to his years of experience and knowledge. I believe he is a worthy recipient of this award.”
2016 AUS All-Stars
Defensive Tackle: Adam Melanson, Acadia (4th year – Kentville, N.S.)
Defensive Tackle: Donovan Glave, Mount Allison (2nd year – Brampton, Ont.)
Defensive End: Kyle Forde, StFX (3rd year – Toronto, Ont.)
Defensive End: Jadarius Ceasar, Saint Mary’s (1st year – Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
Linebacker: DeAndre Smith, Saint Mary’s (1st year – Dunn, North Carolina)
Linebacker: Damian Halstead, Mount Allison (3rd year – Brampton, Ont.)
Linebacker: Adam Kuntz, StFX (4th year – Camrose, Alta.)
Free Safety: Brandon Jennings, Acadia (3rd year – St. Albert, Alta.)
Halfback: Hayden Peters, StFX (5th year – Inverary, Ont.)
Halfback: Michael Bohan, Mount Allison (5th year – Sackville, N.B.)
Cornerback: Garvin Cius, Acadia (3rd year – Malden, Massachusetts)
Cornerback: Paolo Lach-Edwards, StFX (5th year – Hamilton, Ont.)
Centre: Andre Goguen, Mount Allison (4th year – Moncton, N.B.)
Guard: Jacob Czaja, StFX (3rd year – Sudbury, Ont.)
Guard: Marcus MacIsaac, Saint Mary’s (4th year – Elmsdale, N.S.)
Tackle: Vernon Sainvil, StFX (4th year – Malden, Massachusetts)
Tackle: Keiler Cherry, Acadia (4th year – Lloydminster, Alta.)
Receiver: Kaion Julien-Grant, StFX (2nd year – Toronto, Ont.)
Receiver: Dejuan Martin, StFX (2nd year – Scarborough, Ont.)
Receiver: Dakota Brush, Mount Allison (4th year – Brantford, Ont.)
Receiver: Christian Ridley, StFX (4th year – Dubai, U.A.E.)
Running Back: Jordan Socholotiuk, StFX (3rd year – Fort McMurray, Alta.)
Running Back: Chris Reid, Mount Allison (3rd year – Brampton, Ont.)
Quarterback: Tivon Cook, StFX (5th year – Scarborough, Ont.)
Special Teams All-Stars:
Place Kicker: Jonathan Heidebrecht, StFX (2nd year – Camrose, Alta.)
Punter: Keiran Burnham, StFX (1st year – Cambridge, Ont.)
Kick Returner: Kaion Julien-Grant, StFX (2nd year – Toronto, Ont.)