Masoli hopes to MOP up
Just a little over three years ago, Jeremiah Masoli was one step away from being out of the CFL.
Today, he’s one ballot box away from being the league’s Most Outstanding Player.
After he was named the East Division nominee Thursday, he goes against Calgary Stampeders’ quarterback Bo
Levi Mitchell for the prestigious award.
“When I got put on the practice squad, that was kind of rock bottom in a sense,” the Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback said of the 2015 season, which he spent mostly as No. 4 on the depth chart.
“It was just a kick in the butt for me. There was almost zero per cent chance of me seeing the field that year. So it was, ‘Let’s just put my head down and be the best teammate I could be.’ Eventually it circled back to me.”
Masoli joins Ticat teammates Larry Dean (Most Outstanding Defensive Player) and Brandon Revenberg (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman) as East choices for the major player awards.
The overall winners, chosen by CFL head coaches and members of the Football Reporters of Canada, will be announced Nov. 22, during Grey Cup week at Edmonton.
For the first time in eight years, the Tiger-Cats will have three finalists. Only twice in league history have the Tiger-Cats had more: four in 2010 and 1989. Three times prior to this year, they’ve had three.
Some eastern voters have argued that Ottawa’s Trevor Harris, who beat Masoli’s Ticats in the three games which decided the East pennant, was a better choice for the division nomination and all-star spot, which Masoli also won. But Masoli, whose elite receiving corps was absolutely shattered by serial injuries to starter after starter — including game-breakers Brandon Banks, and Jalen Saunders — still set the club record for most games (12) with 300 or more passing yards.
On defence, middle linebacker Dean is up against Winnipeg linebacker Adam Bighill. Dean had 105 defensive tackles, third in the league this year and the fourth-highest total in franchise history.
“I accept the award on behalf of the whole defence,” Dean said.
“They have a rich history of football here and defence drives it. On any defence, the lne-backing corps is the meat of it.”
Third-year Ticat Revenberg will be pitted against the Stampeders’ Stanley Bryant. He paid tribute to his offensive linemates and said that the increased number of running plays under June Jones has made all of them more comfortable and effective.
Revenberg has long since justified the use of the third-overall 2016 draft pick on a player who had been ranked much lower in pre-draft ratings.
The Ottawa Redblacks nailed the other three finalist berths in the east: receiver Brad Sinopoli will go against Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris for Most Outstanding Canadian; and kicker Lewis Ward, got the East nod for both Most Outstanding Special Teams Player, and top rookie. He’ll face, respectively, B.C. kicker Ty Long and Saskatchewan receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert.
The Roughriders’ Chris Jones and Redblacks’ Rick Campbell are the Coach of the Year finalists.
Masoli becomes the first Ticat MOP finalist since Danny McManus won the league award in 1999 and Revenberg is just the second Ticat to represent the East in the top offensive lineman category in the past 29 years.
The last Ticat offensive lineman to reach the national vote-off was centre Marwan Hage in 2010, and before that it was tackle Miles Gorrell in 1989.
Tiger-Cats Brandon Revenberg, left, Jeremiah Masoli and Larry Dean have all been named finalists for the CFL’s top player awards.
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell will be Jeremiah Masoli’s competition for the CFL Most Outstanding Player Award.