Western Mustangs quarterback Merchant captures Hec Crighton Trophy

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Western Mustangs quarterback Chris Merchant throws a pass during first half USports Yates Cup university football action against the McMaster Marauders. (Geoff Robins/CP)

QUEBEC — Western Mustangs quarterback Chris Merchant has been named the top player in Canadian university football this year.

Merchant captured the Hec Crighton Trophy on Thursday night at the U Sports football awards.

The fifth-year senior from Calgary led the Mustangs to their third consecutive unbeaten regular season.

Merchant threw for 2,378 and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 438 yards and six majors in eight games.

Merchant was joined by his coach, Greg Marshall, in the winner’s circle. Marshall was named coach of the year for the second straight season and the third time in his career.

"Chris Merchant has had an outstanding season and career as our quarterback at Western," Marshall said in a statement. "He has made a significant impact on our football program at Western. He has been an outstanding athlete, student and teammate at Western."

Saskatchewan Huskies defensive back Nelson Lokombo received the Presidents’ Trophy as the top defensive player.

McGill Redbirds defensive tackle Andrew Seinet-Spaulding earned the J.P. Metras Trophy as top lineman.

Concordia Stingers receiver Jeremy Murphy won the Peter Gorman Trophy as top rookie.

York Lions free safety Jacob Janke captured the Russ Jackson Award for excellence in football, academics and citizenship.

Regina Rams’ Greg Nesbitt won the Gino Fracas Award as volunteer assistant coach of the year.

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