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Toronto Argonauts Take Home Five Year-End CFL Awards, Including Coach Of The Year, Most Outstanding Player

The 2023 Toronto Argonauts may not have finished their campaign as repeat CFL champions but the record-setting 16-2 Boatmen did sail away with five of the league’s highest honours.

On Thursday night, the CFL announced that Ryan Dinwiddie had been named Coach of the Year, Chad Kelly as the league’s Most Oustanding Player, Returner Javon Leake as Most Outstanding Special Teams Player, Offensive Tackle Dejon Allen as Most Outstanding Lineman, and DB Qwan’tez Stiggers earned Most Outstanding Rookie.

Six Argos were up for the prestigious year-end CFL awards. Only one member of the team did not take home an award, Adarius Pickett as the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

It was a banner year for Double Blue in the 150th year of the club’s existence. The 16-win Argonauts earned plenty of accolades this season. A week ago, Toronto netted a league-high eight nods on the 2023 CFL All-Star team.

The Canadian Football League announced today that Argos Head Coach Ryan Dinwiddie has been named CFL Coach of the Year, while QB Chad Kelly has been named the league’s Most Outstanding Player, OL Dejon Allen wins Most Outstanding Lineman, RT Javon Leake tabbed as Most Outstanding Special Teams Player, and DB Qwan’Tez Stiggers takes home Most Outstanding Rookie. 

Coach of the Year – Ryan Dinwiddie  

Dinwiddie, after being a finalist for this award the previous two seasons, takes home his first Annis Stukus Award. The California native led Toronto to the best regular season record the league has ever seen at 16-2 (tied with the 1989 Edmonton Eskimos) and an Argos franchise record. The former quarterback oversaw a team that went undefeated at home (9-0) against divisional opponents (10-0) and led the CFL in touchdowns (66), offensive yards/play (7.34), sacks (68, team record), fewest sacks allowed (19), turnovers forced (54) and fewest turnovers (27). The Boatmen have won the East Division in each of Dinwiddie’s first three seasons as head coach becoming just the second Argonaut coach to achieve this feat. Marc Trestman was the last Toronto head coach to win this award, doing so in 2017. 

Most Outstanding Player – Chad Kelly 

In his second CFL season but first, as a full-time starter, Kelly was 15-1 in games he started (he was injured in the second quarter and taken out of the game in the one loss) and was vital in getting Toronto to 16-2 (tied for the best regular season record ever) and their third straight Eastern Final at home. The Ole Miss product finished second in the CFL in QB efficiency (109.6) and rushing touchdowns (8), third in passing touchdowns (23), fourth in passing yards (4,123) and completion percentage (68.5). Kelly is the first Argonaut to win MOP since Chad Owens in 2012 and the first Boatmen signal-caller since Damon Allen in 2005. 

Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman – Dejon Allen 

The 2023 CFL All-Star and two-time East All-Star helped anchor one of the best offensive lines in the CFL this season. The University of Hawaii alum started 16 of 18 games at right tackle for an offensive line that allowed a league-low 19 sacks, 14 clear of the second-place team while opening holes for 1,000-yard rusher AJ Ouellette and protecting 4,000-yard passer Chad Kelly. You have to go all the way back to 1997 to find the last Argonaut to win MOOL, Mike Kiselak. 

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player – Javon Leake 

Leake had one of the best return seasons in Argonaut history. The Maryland alum led the CFL in punt return yards (1,216, third best in CFL history), punt return average (15.0), touchdowns (4), and returns of 30+ yards (13) in 17 games. He set team records for touchdowns and punt return yards for a single season, passing Double Blue legend Michael Clemons for the latter record. The North Carolina native also ranked seventh in kick return yards with 793 yards. The last Double Blue player to win best special teams player was Swayze Waters in 2014.  

Most Outstanding Rookie – Qwan’Tez Stiggers 

Stiggers, who did not play football at the collegiate level and whose only professional football experience was in the Fan Controlled Football League, has proven all season he belongs. The Atlanta native tied for second in the league with five interceptions while adding 53 defensive tackles and three special teams tackles in 16 games. The 21-year-old had three interceptions in his last four games for a Toronto team that paced the CFL with 27 and 54 total turnovers. James Wilder Jr. was the most recent Argo to win this award in 2017.  

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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