Awards News

KINGSTON, Ont. (U SPORTS) – Montréal Carabins quarterback Jonathan Sénécal was named the winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding player in U SPORTS football at the annual Vanier Cup awards gala, held Thursday night in Kingston.

Other major award winners include Montreal linebacker Harold Miessan, who won the Presidents’ Trophy (most outstanding standup defensive player); UBC tackle Theo Benedet, who took home the J.P. Metras Trophy (most outstanding down lineman); Laval linebacker Justin Cloutier, who won the Peter Gorman Trophy for rookie of the year; Chris Morris of Alberta, who won the Frank Tindall Trophy as Coach of the Year and Mark Rauhaus of Manitoba, who won the Russ Jackson Award for his excellence in football, academics and community service.

Hec Crighton Trophy (Player of the year) – Jonathan Sénécal, Montréal

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Jonathan Sénécal had the best season of his university career in 2023. The Carabins quarterback finished at the top of all statistical categories at his position in the Quebec conference. Sénécal concluded the regular season with 15 touchdown passes, a high in the RSEQ and a new program record. Sénécal accumulated 2,215 passing yards, the second-best total in team history, completed nearly 70% of his passes, and only threw four interceptions, the lowest total among RSEQ starting quarterbacks this season. The former 2018 Cégep Division I MVP also had 394 rushing yards, the fourth-highest total among all RSEQ rushers, a high among QBs in 2023, and a new Carabins team record. The business administration student at HEC Montreal added six majors on the ground, and none of them came on a quarterback sneak. For the second time in three seasons, the former Collège André-Grasset Phénix led his team to a record of seven wins and one loss to finish first in the conference.

He is the first Carabin to win the award, and the second straight RSEQ player, following Kevin Mital last year.

  • Other nominees: Silas Fagnan (StFX), Taylor Elgersma (Laurier), Matthew Peterson (Alberta).

J.P. Metras Trophy (Lineman of the year) - Theo Benedet, UBC

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Winning the J.P. Metras Trophy for a second consecutive season, Theo Benedet enters some truly elite company in the long-standing history of the award while also charting new territory as the first offensive lineman to win more than once. Selected as a unanimous Canada West offensive All-Star for the second straight year, Benedet also earned his second consecutive Canada West Outstanding Lineman Award leading the front line for the conference’s most potent offence.

Starting every game for the Thunderbirds since his rookie season in 2019, the North Vancouver native burst onto the national scene last year while becoming the first Thunderbird to win the award since 1999 and the first offensive lineman to do so since McGill’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in 2013. Benedet’s abilities have grown more still over the past season, thanks in part to working closely with veteran offensive line coach Dan Dorazio.

Last February, the 6-foot-7, 305 pound right tackle was the lone Canadian invited to participate in the prestigious East-West Shrine Bowl, North America’s premiere college all-star showcase, held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Benedet entered the 2023 season as the top rated U SPORTS CFL draft eligible prospect, ranked third overall.

While much credit for UBC’s high flying offence rightly goes to quarterback Garrett Rooker and an outstanding receiving and running back corps, the efforts of Benedet as a leader on the front line cannot be discounted, providing critical protection for the top offence in the conference while helping lead the Thunderbirds to their first Vanier Cup appearance since 2015.

Benedet is the third person to win the J.P. Metras Trophy in consecutive years, following Laval players Arnaud Gascon-Nadon (2010-11) and Mathieu Betts (2016-18).

  • Other nominees: Alex Fedchun (StFX), Christopher Fontenard (Montréal), Tyson Hergott (Waterloo).

Presidents’ Trophy (Standup defensive player of the year) – Harold Miessan, Montréal

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In his third season with the Carabins, linebacker Harold Miessan has established himself as a pillar within the defensive unit. His haul of 36 tackles makes him the Carabins leader in this regard. The former Cégep du Vieux-Montréal Spartiate also made two interceptions which he returned for a total of 20 yards and recorded a quarterback sack. The RSEQ's outstanding defensive rookie in 2021 added a fumble to his excellent resume this season.

Miessan is the second straight Carabin to take home the Presidents’ Trophy, following Nicky Farinaccio, and the third straight linebacker to do so.

  • Other nominees: Daniel Bell (Mount Allison), Max Charbonneau (Ottawa), Nick Wiebe (Saskatchewan).

Peter Gorman Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – Justin Cloutier, Laval

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A defensive player for the last two campaigns at the college level, Justin Cloutier had an immediate impact on the Rouge et Or's defense this season. In seven regular season games, Cloutier made 28.5 tackles, including 22 solo, the ninth highest total among all defensive players in the RSEQ and the second among the Rouge et Or. Among these tackles, he notably made a quarterback sack.

Cloutier continued his excellent work in two playoff games by accumulating seven tackles, including six individual tackles. During the semi-final against Concordia, the Business Administration student made his first career interception, which he returned 12 yards. His turnover allowed the Rouge et Or offense to score the first touchdown of the game three plays later.

Justin Cloutier becomes the fourth RSEQ representative in a row to win the Peter Gorman Trophy and the fourth in the history of the Rouge et Or after Mathieu Betts (2015), Hugo Richard (2014) and Jean-Frédéric Tremblay (2000). 

  • Other nominees: Mikaël Pattin (Bishop’s), Ethan Gregorcic (Laurier), Owen Sieben (Regina).

Russ Jackson Award (Athletics, Academics, Community Service) – Mark Rauhaus, Manitoba

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Rauhaus is regarded by his coaches and peers as a well-rounded and impactful student-athlete willing to learn at every opportunity. He is diligent, considerate, extremely dedicated to his sport, studies, and community service.

In addition to the heavy training demands that football requires, Rauhaus has selflessly dedicated his time to helping others off the field and has devoted himself to becoming a better leader. In the spring of 2023, Rauhaus was selected to the President’s Student Leadership Program, a prestigious program of just 22 students selected annually from across Manitoba. Through this program, he had the opportunity to travel across the province to network and learn from a variety of influential leaders.

As part of the leadership program, Rauhaus spearheaded an initiative to help New Directions, a social work organization. He piloted a project that integrates independent skills workshops into the supported independent living program, supporting people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Throughout the summer, he worked closely with participants and identified financial skills as an area of need and interest. In conjunction with SEED Winnipeg, he was able to formulate a financial skills curriculum. In addition to his summer research position and extensive summer training, Rauhaus devoted 3-4 hours/week to this initiative. This project was quite personal to him, as his brother has autism.

“Mark carries himself with the utmost integrity and is a role model to the young players in our program. His influence on those around him is all encompassing, he helps bring out the best athlete and person in those around him, often serving as a moral compass,” said Bisons head coach Brian Dobie. “Mark was seven games into his best season as a Bison before he tore his MCL, He is selfless and identifies his personal success with the whole team, his reaction to set-back and failure has always been to reset and find another way to move forward.”

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Rauhaus was also elected by his peers to be on the U of M Athletic Council executive as the Director of Bisons Against Bullying. This program brings Bisons student-athletes into schools to share stories and lessons about bullying, and to encourage bystanders to speak up and step in to put an end to bullying. 

Rauhaus is the third Bison to win this award, following Cameron Teschuk (2016) and Thomas Hall (2010, 2011).

  • Other nominees: Alex Cheng (McMaster), Spencer Richard (Acadia).

Frank Tindall Trophy (Fox 40 Coach of the Year) – Chris Morris, Alberta

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After guiding the Golden Bears to their first winning season since 2005, Chris Morris is the winner of his first career Frank Tindall Trophy. Morris, who has now led the Bears to three playoff appearances in the last four seasons, led the Bears to second place in Canada West with a 6-2 record, and have been ranked inside the U SPORTS Top 10 for seven consecutive weeks.

A 14-year CFL veteran and three-time Grey Cup Champion with the Edmonton Eskimos, Morris led the Bears to the second-highest scoring offence in CW in 2023, with the Bears averaging 30.9 points per game this season. Their 228 rush yards per game led the conference by nearly 60 yards per game, with their 475 yards per game ranking fourth in the nation.

“Chris leads by example and he has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the University of Alberta's football program and our student-athletes,” said Katie Spriggs, the interim director of athletics at the University of Alberta.

  • Other nominees: Gary Waterman (StFX), Marco Iadeluca (Montréal), Michael Faulds (Laurier).

The Canada Life Vanier Cup is on Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern time on CBC TV and TVA Sports. Live streaming of the contest between the Montréal Carabins and UBC Thunderbirds is also available on CBC’s digital platforms (CBC Gem, and the CBC Sports app) and on with a valid subscription.

First Team All-Canadians


Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
QB Jonathan Sénécal Montréal 3 Mirabel, Que. Business Admin.
RB Matthew Peterson Alberta 4 Brooks, Alta. Arts
RB Jared Chisari Queen’s 3 Naples, Maine Graduate Studies
REC Ethan Jordan Laurier 3 Chatham, Ont. Psychology
REC Darius Simmons McGill 3 Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que. Sociology
REC Savaughn Magnaye-Jones Western  5 Hamilton, Ont. King’s College
REC AK Gassama Manitoba 4 Winnipeg, Man. Arts
C Daniel Shin Alberta 3 Edmonton, Alta. Business
G Giordano Vaccaro Manitoba 2 Winnipeg, Man. Agribusiness
G Alassane Diouf Montréal 2 Montreal, Que. Education
T Theo Benedet UBC 4 North Vancouver, B.C. Arts
T Erik Andersen Western 3 London, Ont. King’s College
Util Lucas Robertson UBC 4 Edmonton, Alta. Unclassified


Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
DT Christopher Fontenard Montréal 3 Montreal, Que. Criminology
DT Darien Newell Queen's 3 Brampton, Ont. Philosophy
DE Jeremiah Ojo Montréal 3 Lachine, Que. Sociology
DE Tyson Hergott Waterloo 1 Waterloo, Ont. Science
LB Harold Miessan Montréal 3 Laval, Que. Industrial Design
LB Nick Wiebe Saskatchewan 3 Dewinton, Alta. Business
LB Ife Onyemenam Laurier 4 Toronto, Ont. Economics/Accounting
S Jackson Findlay Western 3 North Vancouver, B.C. Medical Science
DB Bruno Lagacé Montréal 5 Montreal, Que.  Business Admin.
DB Eric Cumberbatch Ottawa 3 Alexandria, Ont. Human Kinetics
CB Kaylyn St-Cyr Montréal 4 La Prairie, Que. Administration  
CB Katley Joseph Saskatchewan 4 Orleans, Ont. Education (M.Ed.)

Special Teams:

Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
P Aldo Galvan Regina 5 Mexico City, Mexico Kinesiology & Health Studies
PK Ben Hadley StFX 4 Halifax, N.S. Business Administration
RET Javonni Cunningham Windsor 4 Sugar Hil, Ga. M.B.A.  
R/C Charles-Eliot Boulianne Montréal 2 St-Lambert, Que. Chemical Engineering

Second Team All-Canadians


Pos Name University Year Hometown Academic Program 
QB Taylor Elgersma Laurier 3 London, Ont. Kinesiology
RB Malcolm Bussey StFX 2 Hammonds Plains, N.S. Arts
RB Amlicar Polk Ottawa 5 Dundas, Ont. General Studies
REC Raidan Thorne Laurier 3 Waterloo, Ont. Arts
REC Kaseem Ferdinand Carleton 3 Ottawa, Ont. Global Law
REC Ben Harrington StFX 3 Dartmouth, N.S. Business Admin.
REC Hassane Dosso Montréal 3 Thetford Mines, Que. Social Work (cert.)
C Ryan Berta Queen’s 4 Hamilton, Ont. History
G Matthew Ljuden Alberta 2 Grande Prairie, Alta. Business
G Evan Floren Queen's  4 Ancaster, Ont. Environmental Science
T Giovanni Manu UBC 4 Pitt Meadows, B.C. Arts
T Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay Laval 2 Rimouski, Que. Sport Administration
Util Niklas Henning Queen’s 2 Milton, Ont. Geology


Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
DT Muftah Ageli Windsor 3 Windsor, Ont. Criminology
DT Kyle Samson UBC 4 Hamilton, Ont. Business
DE Kolade Amusan Windsor 4 Woodbury, Minn. M.B.A.
DE George Idoko Saskatchewan 4 Calgary, Alta. Arts & Sciences
LB Nicky Farinaccio Montréal 3 Montreal, Que. Criminology
LB Max Charbonneau Ottawa 5 Ottawa, Ont. General Studies
LB Lourenz Bowers-Kane Western 3 Dartmouth, N.S. King’s College
S Jonathan Giustini Alberta 4 Calgary, Alta. Business
DB Cristophe Beaulieu Laval 3 Blainville, Que Business
DB Daniel Bell Mount Allison 4 Saint John, N.B. Psychology
CB Jassin States-McClean Saint Mary’s 5 Halifax, N.S. Arts
CB Louis Lavaud Carleton 3 Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que. Cognitive Science

Special Teams:

Pos Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
P Michael Horvat McMaster 2 Stoney Creek, Ont. Kinesiology
PK Vincent Blanchard Laval 4 Quebec City, Que. Free Studies
RET Guillaume Cauchon Laval 1 St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Que. Law
R/C Skyler Griffith UBC 3 Winnipeg, Man. Kinesiology