Football Canada announces ’20-’21 Jon Cornish trophy finalists

OTTAWA & VANCOUVER — Just days after the 2021 CFL Draft, the finalists for the 2020-2021 Jon Cornish trophy have been announced.

The award recognizes the top Canadian player in the NCAA. Six Canadian athletes are on the final ballot for the fourth Jon Cornish Trophy as selected by a panel of voters comprised of professional scouts and media across Canada.

Alonzo Addae, Chuba Hubbard, Alaric Jackson, John Metchie III, Amen Ogbongbemiga and Josh Palmer are all up for the award. Four of them were drafted to a CFL team on Tuesday night.

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Addae was selected by the Ottawa REDBLACKS in the second round (13th overall). Hubbard was selected by the Calgary Stampeders in the sixth round (43rd overall). The BC Lions selected Jackson in the second round (15th overall) while the Stamps picked Ogbongbemiga with their eighth overall pick in the first round.

The patrons have awarded previous Cornish Trophy presentations before the CFL and NFL Drafts. Due to FCS spring football extending into May, the decision was made to extend the process. Athletes are required 66 percent or more on the first ballot to advance to the final vote.

Four of the finalists list their home as the province of Ontario, while two – including 2019-20 winner Chuba Hubbard – hail from Alberta. The trophy will be presented on May 24.



Senior RS/Safety – Pickering, ON/West Virginia

Photo: West Virginia Athletics

The transfer from New Hampshire immediately asserted himself as a leader on a dynamic West Virginia defensive unit. In 10 games, he was second in tackles for the Mountaineers and tops in solo tackles with 38. He was led WVU in pass defence with two interceptions and seven pass breakups.  A graduate of St. Mary’s (ON), he reclassified for a year at the Peddie School in New Jersey.


Junior RS/Running Back – Sherwood Park, AB/Oklahoma State

Photo: Oklahoma State Athletics

The leading rusher in the NCAA in 2019, the All-American and defending Cornish Trophy winner played through an injury-riddled 2020 year. Earned a spot on the AFCA Allstate Good Works Team for his work in the community, most notably for creating the non-profit organization Your Life, Your Choice, which exists to provide opportunities for underprivileged youths.

A first-team Academic All-Big 12 honoree was also a second-team All-Big 12 selection despite missing four games and being slowed by injury in two others. He played in only seven games but still finished with 625 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Averaged 89.3 rushing yards per game playing behind an offensive line was ravaged by injuries. He had six rushes of 20 yards or longer, highlighted by a spectacular 32-yard touchdown run against Iowa State. The Carolina Panthers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.


Senior/Offensive Tackle – Windsor, ON (Detroit, MI)/Iowa

Photo: Iowa Athletics

Jackson started all 42 games he dressed for Iowa. In 2020, he was selected second-team All-America by AFCA, third-team All-America by Phil Steele, first-team All-Big Ten by league coaches and media, first-team All-Big Ten by Associated Press and Phil Steele and named to Outland Trophy preseason watch list.

He started all eight games at left tackle. He played every offensive down in 24-20 loss at Purdue as the offence gained 460 yards total offence. He played every offensive down in a 21-20 loss to Northwestern. He started at left tackle in a 49-7 win over Michigan State as the offence rushed for 226 yards and gained 405 total yards. He started at left tackle in a 35-7 win at Minnesota as the offence rushed for 235 yards. He started at left tackle and played every offensive down in 41-21 win at Penn State as the offence gained 175 net rushing yards. He started at left tackle and played every offensive down in a 26-20 win over Nebraska. He started at left tackle in a 35-21 win at Illinois as offence gained 424 yards total offence. He started at left tackle and played every offensive down in a 28-7 win over #25 Wisconsin.


Sophomore/Receiver – Brampton, ON/Alabama

Metchie began the year as the Tide’s No. 3 wideout and expanded his role following the injury to Jaylen Waddle. He averaged 16.7 yards per catch to rank seventh in the SEC, totalling 916 yards and six touchdowns on 55 catches.

He converted a first down or scored a touchdown on 35 of his receptions as a sophomore. He was added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List after the Tennessee matchup. He was selected as one of the offensive players of the week by the Alabama coaches for his play against Texas A&M. He was named a special teams player of the week by the UA coaches following Ole Miss.

Against Texas A&M, he led all wideouts with 181 yards and two touchdowns on just five catches scoring from 78 and 63 yards out for the Tide’s first and last scores of the game.  He earned offensive player of the week recognition from the Tide coaches for his efforts.

Against Ole Miss, he picked up special teams’ player of the week recognition from the Alabama coaches after recovering the Rebels’ attempt at an onside kick late in the fourth quarter. He contributed four catches for 75 yards on offence.

Versus Tennessee, he led the Tide pass-catchers with 151 yards on a team-high tying seven catches and converted a first down on six of his catches with a long gain of 45 yards.


Senior/Linebacker – Calgary, AB/Oklahoma State

Photo: Oklahoma State Athletics

The Nigerian-born Notre Dame Pride (Calgary) graduate was the leader of the Oklahoma State defence in 2020 at middle linebacker.  A semi-finalist for the 2020 Lott IMPACT Trophy who was OSU’s leading tackler in six of its 11 games, Ogbongbemiga was named second-team All-Big 12 by the coaches and the AP. The coaches also picked him as an honourable mention for the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. First-team Academic All-Big 12 honoree. He was voted as a team captain by his teammates for the second consecutive season. Selected in the preseason for the Butkus Award watch list and started every game for the Cowboys and served as a game captain vs. Kansas, Oklahoma, Baylor and Miami. Finished the season as OSU’s second-leading tackler with 81, just one short of Malcolm Rodriguez’s 82. His 51 solo tackles also tied for the second-most on the team.

Led the team in tackles vs. West Virginia (13), Kansas (5), Texas (10), Kansas State (8), Texas Tech (11), and TCU (12). His 13 tackles vs. WVU also marked a career-high and tied for the most of any player in an OSU game on the year. The 13 tackles vs. WVU also tied for the third-most of any Big 12 player in a game for the season. He had at least three tackles in every game and at least five tackles in seven games. He also added 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries on the year, getting sacks vs. WVU and UT and a half-sack at KSU.

Amen had a career day at TCU, forcing three fumbles to set an OSU record, tie a Big 12 record and finish one short of matching the NCAA record for forced fumbles in a game. Recovered two of his forced fumbles in the fourth quarter, and a teammate recovered his other forced fumble late in the third quarter to give him three forced turnovers in the final 18:30 of a one-possession game. He also finished as the game’s leader in total tackles (12) and solo tackles (9) on his way to earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the performance, as well as the Pro Football Focus National College Defensive MVP of the Week. He finished as the seventh leading tackler in the Big 12 with an average of 7.4 per game. His three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries were tied for the Big 12 lead in 2020, and his two fumble recoveries tied for No. 12 in the FBS.


Senior/Receiver – Brampton, ON/Tennessee

Palmer proved to be the top receiver on the Volunteers and one of the best in the SEC. Led the Vols in receiving yards (475), catches (33) and receiving touchdowns (4). Twenty-three of his 33 catches went for first downs, while 62 yards came after the catch. Ranked 13th in the SEC in 20+ yard catches (9). Was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

He was UT’s leading receiver in the season-opening win at South Carolina (9/26), tying a career-high with six catches for 85 yards and scoring the game-winning touchdown with a 32-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

He collected 71 yards on four receptions, including a 33-yard grab against Missouri (10/3).

He delivered the first multi-touchdown game of his career at No. 3 Georgia (10/10), finishing with four catches for 71 yards. Both TD grabs came in the second quarter, including a 36-yarder from Jarrett Guarantano that tied the game at 14. He added another on the ensuing possession, a 27-yarder that gave the Vols the lead in Athens.

He logged four catches for 57 yards and one touchdown against No. 2 Alabama (10/24), including a 27-yard score in the third quarter. Tallied 53 yards receiving on four catches in win at Vanderbilt (12/12), and a week later, against Texas A&M, finished with three receptions for 55 yards.

– with files from Football Canada

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