For the second time in his career, receiver Reggie Begelton is the Calgary Stampeders’ nominee for the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player award.
The team’s other representatives for the league’s major awards in 2023 include linebacker Cameron Judge (Most Outstanding Canadian), linebacker Micah Awe (Most Outstanding Defensive Player), centre Sean McEwen (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman), receiver/returner Clark Barnes (Most Outstanding Rookie) and kicker René Paredes (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player).
Calgary’s award finalists were determined by voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) as well as one vote from the Stampeders coaching staff. The league’s top players in each category will be announced on Nov. 16 during the CFL awards ceremony in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Here is a closer look at the Stampeders players being honoured:
Reggie Begelton (Most Outstanding Player): Begelton is the team’s leader in receptions (86), receiving yards (1,119) and receiving touchdowns (five). Despite missing two games due to injury in 2023, the veteran slotback heads into Week 21 ranked second in the CFL in catches and sixth in receiving yards. Begelton was previously Calgary’s Most Outstanding Player nominee in 2019.
Cameron Judge (Most Outstanding Canadian): The Montreal-born linebacker is the Stamps’ top Canadian for a second consecutive season. Through 17 starts at the weak-side linebacker position, Judge has amassed a career-high 90 tackles and a team-leading five interceptions including a pick-six in the Stamps’ critical Week 19 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He followed up that performance with six tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception in a win at BC that helped Calgary clinch a playoff spot. Judge’s total of five interceptions is tied for second-most in the CFL. His 106 defensive plays also include one special-teams tackle, two tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three knockdowns.
Micah Awe (Most Outstanding Defensive Player): In his first season with the Red and White, Awe has become just the fourth player in franchise history to accumulate 100 defensive tackles in a season. Heading into the final week of the regular season, he has 118 defensive stops – just five fewer than the team record of 123. Awe leads the CFL with 137 defensive plays including the 118 defensive tackles, four tackles for loss, six special-teams stops, two sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble and three knockdowns.
Sean McEwen (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman): The veteran centre is the Stamps’ nominee for the top-lineman for the second time in three seasons with the Red and White. McEwen was previously the Toronto Argonauts’ Most Outstanding Offensive lineman on three occasions. The Calgary native has made 16 starts in 2023 and is part of an offensive line that has allowed just 32 sacks, the second-lowest total in the league.
Clark Barnes (Most Outstanding Rookie): The 2023 third-round pick out of the University of Guelph made a substantial impact on both offence and special teams before suffering a season-ending injury in a Week 10 game at BC. Barnes had 25 catches for 234 yards and a touchdown, 379 kickoff-return yards and 111 missed-field goal-return yards in nine games. His 724 all-purpose yards were good enough to lead the team and place him in the CFL’s top 10 at the time of the injury.
René Paredes (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player): The venerable Venezuelan-born, Montreal-raised kicker is Calgary’s finalist for the special-teams award for the seventh time in his career. Paredes heads into the final week of the regular season tied for the league lead in field goals with 50 and tied for second in points scored with 178. He leads the CFL with 29 field goals of at least 40 yards including a 50-yarder on the final play of the game to give the Stamps a Week 6 victory in Saskatchewan. Paredes also averaged 65.1 yards on his 54 regular kickoffs.