Connect with us

USports

CFL Prospects: Jon Cornish Trophy 2023 Finalists for NCAA’s Top Canadian Announced

The race for the prestigious Jon Cornish Trophy, an award recognizing the top Canadian performer in NCAA football, is heating up with five standouts vying for the honor. The finalists span three Canadian provinces, showcasing the geographical spread of collegiate athletic excellence.

Kurtis Rourke of Ohio edges into the limelight for the second year in a row, following the successful path of his brother, Nathan Rourke, who clinched the trophy twice. Despite a difficult recovery from a torn ACL in the prior year, Rourke showcased resilience and tactical skill. His 2023 season stats reflect a high completion rate of 65.3 percent, with 2,207 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Additionally, he clocked in 219 rushing yards that contributed to four touchdowns, securing him a spot as a second-team all-Mid-American Conference all-star. The Oakville, Ontario native also surpassed his brother in Ohio’s all-time passing yards. Currently, he is considering his options between entering the transfer portal and declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft, with attention from illustrious universities like Wake Forest, BYU, and Vanderbilt.

Elic Ayomanor of Stanford made a dramatic entrance on the scene when he shattered the university’s single-game receiving record with a 294-yard, three-touchdown outing against Colorado. Hailing from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Ayomanor continued to impress throughout the season. He wrapped up with 62 receptions, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark with 1,013 yards and six touchdowns, earning him the Irving S. Zeimer Award as Stanford’s top offensive player and an all-PAC 12 honorable mention.

Out of Memphis, linebacker Geoffrey Cantin-Arku, with Québécois roots, demonstrated a strong presence on the defense with a total of 76 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and four tackles for a loss across 13 games. His impact earned him an honorable mention all-AAC selection in his redshirt senior year.

UNLV’s Jett Elad stepped into the NCAA from Junior College football and immediately made a significant contribution. Playing slot cornerback, the Ontario-born athlete notched 55 tackles, six pass breakups, and a fumble recovery over the span of 12 games.

Tanner McLachlan from Arizona, originally a walk-on transfer, has risen to prominence as the Wildcats’ standout at the tight end position since Rob Gronkowski. The Canadian player snagged 42 passes for a total of 500 yards and four touchdowns during his senior year, meriting him an all-PAC 12 honorable mention.

Since its inception in 2017, the Jon Cornish Trophy has been awarded by a panel of Canadian commentators, CFL player personnel evaluators, and former Canada-connected NCAA players. The laureates are a testament to Canadian talent influencing the NFL, with past recipients like Nathan Rourke, Chuba Hubbard, John Metchie III, and Chase Brown making the jump to the professional level.

The announcement for the 2023 Jon Cornish Trophy recipient is eagerly anticipated, with TSN’s Krown Gridiron Nation set to broadcast the winner on Wednesday, December 13. The spotlight on these players not only celebrates individual achievements but also casts a hopeful light on the integration of Canadian athletes in international sports arenas.

author avatar
Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry is the founder and editor of CFL News Hub. A dedicated and experienced football analyst, he has been providing comprehensive coverage of the sport since 2018.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in USports

CFL News Hub