Banks, Fajardo square off for CFL’s most outstanding player award


Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Brandon Banks. (Peter Power/CP)

TORONTO — Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver/returner Brandon Banks and Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo are the finalists for the CFL’s most outstanding player award.

The Ticats lead the way with five finalists representing the East Division among the seven awards.

The Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers each have three finalists on the list, which was revealed on Thursday.

Fajardo, who became the Roughriders’ starter after Zach Collaros suffered a concussion in the season opener, led the CFL with 4,302 passing yards. He completed 71.5 per cent of his passes to lead the Roughriders to their first West title since 2009.

Banks set career highs in receiving yards (1,550), receptions (112) and touchdowns (16) as the Ticats ran away with the East with a record of 15-3.

Blue Bombers defensive end Willie Jefferson and Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence are the finalists for defensive player of the year.

Roughriders linebacker Cameron Judge and Montreal Alouettes linebacker Henoc Muamba are up for top Canadian.

Winnipeg’s Stanley Bryant goes against Hamilton’s Chris Van Zeyl for top offensive lineman.

Mike Miller of the Bombers faces Frankie Williams of the Ticats for the special-teams award.

Calgary Stampeders linebacker Nate Holley squares off with Alouettes receiver Jake Wieneke for top rookie.

The coach of the year finalists are two rookie head coaches — Saskatchewan’s Craig Dickenson and Hamilton’s Orlondo Steinauer.

The awards will be presented Nov. 21 in Calgary as part of Grey Cup week.

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