The CFL announced its nominees for the 2011 CFL Player Awards earlier today. I'll get into the nominees from the seven other teams at a later time. For now, I will focus on the Tiger-Cats candidates.
Justin Hickman being named Most Outstanding Defensive Player was no surprise. He is tied for second in league in sacks with 12, and he has been Hamilton's best and most consistent defensive player all season. His being named the team's Most Outstanding Player was a little surprising, but it makes sense. If you look at the Tiger-Cats this year, there were few players who performed as well as Hickman on a week-to-week basis. Justin Medlock and Chris Williams probably garnered some consideration, but the selection of Hickman is well deserved.
Speaking of Medlock and Williams, both players were unanimous selections for their awards. Medlock is the team's Most Outstanding Special Teams Players, and Williams is the team's Most Outstanding Rookie. Those selections were not the least bit surprising.
Neither was Dave Stala as the team's Most Outstanding Canadian. Stala started off the year very hot, but tailed off around mid-season. He still posted some excellent numbers, most notably his eight touchdown catches.
And finally, Peter Dyakowski was named the team's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. This award has been owned by Marwan Hage recently, but with The Sultan's injury, it opened the door for Dyakowski to get some much-deserved recognition.
The league finalists will be announced in one week's time, and I would be surprised if one or two Tiger-Cats didn't make the final cut. I expect Chris Williams and Justin Medlock to be finalists. Medlock is in tough, but Williams is a near lock.
Regardless of what happens from here, all five players should be proud of their accomplishments in 2011.