BC Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player on Thursday night, becoming the first-ever defensive player to win the Canadian league’s top individual honour.
Elimimian also won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player at the awards ceremony, which took place in Vancouver three days before the city hosts the 102nd Grey Cup at BC Place.
“Just winning an award is something big,” he said (CFL.ca). “Winning something of this magnitude, I may not fully appreciate until later on. It’s unbelievable.”
Elimimian put up a league-record 143 defensive tackles in 2014, beating second-place tackler Brandon Smith by 54.
“I haven’t reached my peak,” Elimimian said. “I feel like mentally I’m just starting to come into my own. I have not reached my peak.”
Elimimian, who played college ball with the University of Hawaii Warriors, just finished his fifth year in the CFL, all spent with the Lions.
Also winning an award Thursday night was New Westminster, B.C.’s Jon Cornish, who was named the CFL’s top Canadian for 2014.
It’s the third straight time Cornish – who was also named the 2013 Most Outstanding Player – has won the award. He finished with 1,082 yards in an injury-plagued season, with 7.8 yards per carry.
Cornish and his Calgary Stampeders will face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at this Sunday’s Grey Cup, when the B.C. product can win his second championship. He won his first in a limited role with Calgary in 2008 against Montreal.
“The Grey Cup week is awesome,” Cornish told reporters today. “Everybody wants your attention, everybody wants a piece of you, there’s parties everywhere. Ignore all that. We’re here for one reason. Win this game, the Grey Cup, then you’ve got six months of celebration.”
Edmonton Eskimos linebacker Dexter McColl won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie award for 2014.