The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ team awards were announced on Wednesday with defensive back/returner Jovon Johnson taking home three honours.
Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Most Outstanding Special Teams Player – Jovon Johnson
Johnson is enjoying one of his finest seasons of his five-year career, as the defensive back/punt returner currently leads the league in interceptions with seven, including two that he’s returned for touchdowns. He has proven to be a very versatile member of the secondary by primarily playing corner but filling in at halfback when injuries have plagued the defence. Johnson ranks second in the league in both punt return yards (517) and missed field goal return yards (201) and is always a threat to make a big play whenever he’s on the field. This is the second time Johnson has been named the team’s Most Outstanding Player (last in 2009) and the second straight year he has been named the team’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
Most Outstanding Canadian Player – Cory Watson
The ninth overall pick in the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft, Watson improved his play dramatically in his second CFL season and has become a big target in the Blue Bomber offence, currently sitting third on the team with 65 receptions for 757 yards and one touchdown. Watson’s 92-yard catch and run play that took place against the Montreal Alouettes in September is the second-longest in the league and also helped him record back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time in his career.
Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman – Brendon LaBatte
For the third straight year, Brendon LaBatte has been named the team’s best offensive lineman. LaBatte started the year as the starting left guard but has since moved to the center of the O-line where he has adjusted tremendously. Currently in his fourth-year in the league, the first-round pick from 2008 has now taken home a team award in each of his four seasons, (Offensive Lineman, ’09, ’10, ’11 and Rookie, ’08).
Most Outstanding Rookie – Clarence Denmark (Unanimous)
After making the team out of training camp, it wasn’t until an injury to the receiving corps in the team’s first game that Denmark would find his way onto the active roster for the Blue Bombers’ second regular season game and since then, he hasn’t looked back. Denmark has been a very versatile weapon for the Blue Bombers as he is currently ranked second on the team with 60 receptions for 764 yards and four touchdowns and has carried the ball seven times for 81 yards while also filling in as a returner, fielding seven punts for 85 yards and five kickoffs for 52 yards. The Arkansas-Monticello product was all over the highlight reel earlier this season after making a one handed touchdown grab – while falling down in the back of the endzone – against the Toronto Argonauts in September.
The Canadian Football League East and West Division finalists will be announced on Wednesday, November 9th.
photo courtesy Merle Peters