In what has been a very tough 2021 CFL season, a year where the Redblacks, going into the final game of the season have won just two games, there are still a lot of positives, and today, Wednesday November 17th, Redblacks fans were reminded of some of those positives. The team, and the CFL announced each team’s award winners and the nominees for the league wide awards which will be given on Friday December 10th in Hamilton prior to the Grey Cup on the 12th.
One of the biggest positives for the Ottawa Redblacks came in the special teams unit, with kick-off returner DeVonte Dedmon. Dedmon, in just 15 games played, 5 in 2019 and 10 in 2021 has accumulated a whopping 2,906 yards and scored 6 touchdowns on just 148 touches, averaging 19.6 yards every time he’s touched the ball and averaging just under 200 yards per game played. His numbers are insane, and after breaking the record for the fastest player in CFL history to get to the 5 kickoff return touchdown marker, Dedmon is going to be recognized as the Ottawa Redblacks most outstanding player of the 2021 CFL season as well as their special teams player of the year. This season, of the numbers mentioned, 1,907 of those yards have come in return yards including 3 return touchdowns, 2 punt returns and 1 kickoff return. Those numbers make him the leading returner in the CFL, and without another player in the CFL having the impact he does when he lays hands on the football or is even close to the football, Dedmon is expected to win the 2021 Special Teams Player of the year award, however it is still up in the air whether or not he will win the CFL’s MOP award. Other players across the league, William Stanback, McLeod Bethel Thompson, Simoni Lawrence, Zach Collaros, Cody Fajardo, Ka’Deem Carey, James Wilder Jr and Lucky Whitehead have also been nominated.
With the Redblacks, Ryan Davis has been nominated for the CFL’s rookie of the year award. Davis, a St. Petersburg, Florida-native and Auburn alum is also a very big positive that has come from the 2021 CFL season in Ottawa. The Auburn record holder has found himself in a role as a primary pass catcher in the Redblacks offence and with one game left on the season he has 52 catches for 567 yards and 2 scores to his name. He also has 43 rushing yards and 481 return yards in his rookie year, giving him over 1,000 all-purpose yards. Around the CFL, the only player he may fear in the east division as a rookie of the year nominee would be Toronto’s Peter Nicastro, the Argonauts rookie centre, therefore Davis has a shot at winning the eastern division rookie of the year, but will then have to face Jordan Williams, Kian Schaffer Baker and DeAundre Alford from the western division to be able to call the CFL rookie of the year award his own.
The Redblacks also named Avery Williams as their defensive player of the year, who has 83 tackles, a sack and an interception going into the final game of the season on Friday, Lewis Ward as the Canadian player of the year and Mark Korte as their offensive lineman of the year. Korte has played a number of different positions this season on the Redblacks’ offensive line, and although Redblacks quarterbacks have had a tough time in the backfield this season, the work he’s put in for this team should be recognized. Ward as the Canadian player of the year for Ottawa has been the team’s main source of points, and just because he doesn’t have the crazy streak like he did in 2018 and 2019, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been consistent, he’s kicking 83% this season.
Stay tuned to see how the Ottawa Redblacks award winners stand against the rest of the league, and if you are in Hamilton for the Grey Cup, come by the awards on Friday December 10th to see your favourite players accept their awards, including Redblacks’ DeVonte Dedmon who WILL get the CFL’s special teams player of the year award.