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U Sports – HAMILTON (U Sports) – The 2016 U Sports football all-stars were announced on Thursday evening during the All-Canadian Awards Gala presented by Sun Life Financial.

Official Vanier Cup website:

The event was held at the Hamilton Convention Centre as part of the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup, which will see the Laval University Rouge et Or and University of Calgary Dinos battle for Canadian university football supremacy Saturday at 1 p.m. EST at Tim Hortons Field.

Television coverage on Sportsnet / Sportsnet 360 and TVA Sports gets underway with pre-game shows at 12:30 p.m. The 52nd U Sports championship game is also available online through Sportsnet NOW and

Without any surprise, programs that spent the majority of the season in the national rankings – including all four conference champions – earned the most all-Canadian selections.

The Western Mustangs led the way with six all-stars, including four on the first team and a pair of second-team nods. They were followed closely by the Laval Rouge et Or (3+2), Montreal Carabins (2+3) and McMaster Marauders (2+3) with five apiece.

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (3+1), St. Francis Xavier X-Men (2+2), Saskatchewan Huskies (2+2) and Calgary Dinos (0+4) all placed four standouts among the U Sports elite.

On offence, the first all-Canadian team is comprised of Regina quarterback Noah Picton, running backs Tyler Chow of Saskatchewan and Alex Taylor of Western, receivers Kaion Julien-Grant of StFX, Mitchell Picton of Regina, Louis-Mathieu Normandin of Montreal and Nate Behar of Carleton, centre Matthew Van Praet of Western, guards Geoff Gray of Manitoba and Zach Intzandt of McMaster, as well as tackles Vernon Sainvil of StFX and Jean-Simon Roy of Laval.

None are returnees from last year’s top unit but Taylor, Van Praet and Sainvil were voted to the second squad in 2015. Sainvil is honoured for the third straight season as he was also a second-team member in 2014.
Noah Picton became the first player in school history to capture the prestigious Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding player in Canadian university football. In his third year as the Rams starting QB, the business administration student put together a season for the ages, setting a U Sports record for passing yards (3,186) and a new Canada West mark for completions (224), while also leading the country in touchdown passes (25) and completion percentage (69.3) in eight league games. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound pivot was one of the main reasons behind Regina’s remarkable turnaround as the Rams topped the Canada West standings with a 6-2 record, a year after going 0-8 in conference play.

Chow led Canada West in rushing yards (828) and rushing touchdowns (7); Taylor ranked first in the country in rushing TDs (10) and racked up 987 yards on the ground; Julien-Grant topped U Sports in all-purpose yards (1,558) despite missing one conference game; Mitchell Picton led the nation in TD catches (11) and ranked second in receptions (58) and receiving yards (834); Normandin averaged 76.6 yards per contest and 17.5 yards per reception; Behar was third in the country in receptions (57) and second in TD catches (9).
On defence, the first U Sports dream team for 2016 is made up of tackles Rupert Butcher of Western and Vincent Desjardins of Laval, ends Mathieu Betts of Laval and Michael Kashak of McMaster, linebackers DeAndre Smith of Saint Mary’s, DJ Lalama of Manitoba and Nakas Onyeka of Laurier, free safety Stavros Katsantonis of UBC, halfbacks Malcolm Thompson of Laurier and Malcolm Brown of Western, as well as corners Godfrey Onyeka of Laurier and Samuel Polan of Sherbrooke.

Betts and Godfrey Onyeka are returnees from the 2015 first unit. Betts (outstanding down lineman) and Lalama (defensive player of the year) also merited a U Sports major award for their stellar play this fall. 

Butcher had 16 tackles in seven games, including five for a loss; Desjardins had 11 tackles, 4.5 of them in the backfield; Betts – the 2015 U Sports rookie of the year – topped the RSEQ and was second in the country in sacks (9); Kashak led the nation in sacks (11.5) and tackles for a loss (16.5); Smith had 45 tackles, including 11 for a loss; Lalama led the nation in solo tackles (54) and total tackles (72.5); Nakas Onyeka was second in the country in tackles for a loss (15); Katsantonis led Canada West and ranked second in U Sports in interceptions (5); Thompson also had five interceptions, tops in the OUA; Brown led the country in fumble recoveries (5); Godfrey Onyeka had four interceptions; Polan was first in Quebec in interceptions (5).

Rounding out the list of 2016 first-team all-Canadians, on special teams, were Montreal punter Félix Ménard-Brière, Saskatchewan placekicker Sean Stenger and Carleton kick returner Tunde Adeleke.

It was the second straight first-team selection for Adeleke, a speedy defensive back who led the country in punt return yards (734), punt return average (23.7 yards) and return touchdowns (5), including a spectacular 120-yard score off a missed field goal return in the annual Panda Game against Ottawa on Oct. 1.

Ménard-Brière averaged a U Sports-best 42.4 yards per punt, while Stenger topped Canada West with 22 field goals and ranked third in the nation with an 85 per cent success rate (22-26).

NOTES: Named to the second team on defence in his fifth and final university season, Saskatchewan tackle Donovan Dale became a four-time all-Canadian, including previous selections on the first unit in 2013 and on the second team in 2014 and 2015… Also members of the second team this fall, McMaster receiver Danny Vandervoort (first team 2015 / second 2014) Western offensive tackle Sean Jamieson (first team 2015 & 2014)  and Calgary corner Adam Laurensse (first team 2015 & 2014) all became three-time all-Canadians.
Pos.     Athlete                        University       Year    Hometown                  Academics                
QB       Noah Picton                 Regina             3          Regina, Sask                Business Admin.
RB       Tyler Chow                  Saskatchewan  3          Calgary, Alta.               Arts & Science
RB       Alex Taylor                 Western           3          Winnipeg, Man.             Kinesiology
IR        Kaion Julien-Grant      StFX                2          Toronto, Ont.               Human Kinetics
IR        Mitchell Picton           Regina             4          Regina, Sask.               Business Admin.
WR      Louis-Mathieu           Montreal          2          Montreal, Que.             Administration

WR      Nate Behar                   Carleton           4          London, Ont.               Communications
C          Matthew Van Praet      Western           4          London, Ont.               Kinesiology
G         Geoff Gray                  Manitoba         4          Winnipeg, Man.              Engineering
G         Zach Intzandt               McMaster         5          London, Ont.               Political Science
T          Vernon Sainvil             StFX                4          Malden, Mass.             Arts
T          Jean-Simon Roy          Laval               4          Quebec City, Que.       Civil Engineering

DT       Rupert Butcher            Western           5          London, Ont.               Huron College
DT       Vincent Desjardins      Laval               2          Quebec City, Que.       Civil Engineering
DE       Mathieu Betts            Laval               2          Montreal, Que.            Ph. & Health Ed.
DE       Michael Kashak         McMaster         5          Courtice, Ont.              Labour St. &                                                                                                                        Political Sc.

LB       DeAndre Smith          Saint Mary’s    1          Dunn, N.C.                Arts
LB       DJ Lalama                   Manitoba         4          Winnipeg, Man.        Graduate Studies
LB       Nakas Onyeka             Laurier             4          Brampton, Ont.         Communications
FS        Stavros Katsantonis     UBC                2          Bakersfield, Calif.       Arts
HB       Malcolm Thompson     Laurier             2          Windsor, Ont.              Sociology
HB       Malcolm Brown           Western           5          London, Ont.               King’s College
CB       Godfrey Onyeka          Laurier             3          Brampton, Ont.              Biology
CB       Samuel Polan               Sherbrooke      2          Montreal, Que.             Multidisciplinary
Special Teams
P          Félix Ménard-Brière     Montreal          4          Montreal, Que.             Architecture
K         Sean Stenger                Saskatchewan  3          Saskatoon, Sask.          Engineering
RET     Tunde Adeleke            Carleton           4          Ottawa, Ont.                Communications


QB       Derek Wendel              Ottawa             5          Belleville, Ont.             Philosophy
RB       Jordan Socholotiuk      StFX                3          Fort McMurray, Alta.   Human Kinetics
RB       Jayde Rowe                 Carleton           4          Scarborough, Ont.        History
IR        Austen Hartley             Calgary                        4          Calgary, Alta.               Engineering
IR        Mitchell Baines                        Ottawa             5          Ottawa, Ont.                Social Sc. & Criminology
WR      Dejuan Martin              StFX                2          Scarborough, Ont.        Business Admin.
WR      Danny Vandervoort     McMaster         4          Barrie, Ont.                  Sociology        
C          Levi Hua                      UBC                3          Abbotsford, B.C.         Arts
G         Samuel Lefebvre          Laval    1          St-Lambert-de-Lauzon, Que.   Business Admin.
G         Ryan Sceviour             Calgary                        3          Calgary, Alta.    Arts
T          Evan Johnson              Saskatchewan  4          Regina, Sask.               Engineering
T          Sean Jamieson             Western           5          Winnipeg, Man.             Kinesiology

DT       Donovan Dale             Saskatchewan  5          Saskatoon, Sask.          Kinesiology
DT       Junior Luke                 Montreal          4          Montreal, Que.          Drug addiction                                                                                                                       (prev./rehab.)
DE       Kwaku Boateng           Laurier             4          Milton, Ont.                 Accounting
DE       Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou Montreal          3          Lyster, Que.     Mechanical                                                                                                                           Engineering
LB       Frédéric Chagnon        Montreal          4          Montreal, Que.             Administration
LB       Jean-Gabriel Poulin     Western           3          St-Nicolas, Que.           King’s College
LB       Alexandre Gagné         Sherbrooke      4          St-Hubert, Que.            Administration
FS        Brandon Jennings        Acadia             3          St. Albert, Alta.      Community Develop.
HB       Robert Woodson          Calgary          4          Calgary, Alta.               Arts
HB       Adam Auclair              Laval               1         Notre-Dame-des-Pins,    Consumer                                                                                            Que.                           Science
CB       Adam Laurensse          Calgary            4          Sherwoood Park, Alta. Arts
CB       Robbie Yochim          McMaster         2          Kelowna, B.C.             Social Sciences

Special Teams
P          TJ Morton                    Toronto        4          Elkton, Md.                  Communications
K         Adam Preocanin          McMaster         1          Burlington, Ont.           Humanities
RET     Marcus Davis               UBC                3          Victoria, B.C.               Arts


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