Thursday, November 9, 2017 — TORONTO - The Canadian Football League announced Thursday the divisional winners of the 2017 CFL Player Awards, including three Toronto Argonauts players who have won East Division awards.
Ricky Ray, for the third time since joining the Argos, has been named the East Division's Most Outstanding Player after putting together a career year in Double Blue.
The Argos other East Division award winners are Sean McEwen (Most Oustanding Offensive Lineman) and James Wilder Jr. (Most Outstanding Rookie).
RICKY RAY // QB // MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
In his 15th CFL season, Ricky Ray has shattered team and personal records from start to finish. Ray finished the 2017 season ranked first in the CFL in completions (474), tied for first in completion percentage (71.0%), second in yards (5,546) and second in touchdowns (28). Ray’s yardage total is a new personal-best in Double Blue and the second-highest of his illustrious career.
After entering the season as the team’s all-time leader in completions, Ray became the new franchise leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and attempts early in the season, leapfrogging all-time great Condredge Holloway in each category. During Week 18 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ray became the fourth quarterback in league history with 60,000+ passing yards while becoming just the third player to record four or more seasons of 5,000+ passing yards.
In the final regular season game of the season, a victory on the road against the BC Lions, Ray turned in a vintage performance hitting eight different receivers on his way to 341 yards passing and three touchdowns. His thirteenth game of 300+ yards this season is a feat only surpassed once in CFL history by Doug Flutie in 1991 (14). He wrapped up the 2017 season with the third-most pass completions in a single season in league history (474), coming up just seven short of Henry Burris' all-time record (481) and five short of his personal best (459) with Edmonton in 2005.
Chad Owens was the last Argonaut to win the league's Most Outstanding Player in 2012.
SEAN MCEWEN // OL // MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
One year after being named the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie, Sean McEwen has continued to be a rock in the middle of the Argos offensive line. The second-year pro did not miss a single game in 2017 and was one of just three offensive players to start all 18 contests.
McEwen helped anchor a unit that saw seven other linemen make starts, including two with no prior CFL experience. The University of Calgary product remarkably penalized just once the entire season while acting as a catalyst in a rushing attack that ranked third in yards per attempt (5.5).
McEwen's steady play was a huge factor in the Argos allowing the team's lowest sack total (40) since 2012 and producing the most offensive yardage (393.4) per game since the historic 1997 season.
The last Toronto Argonaut to win Most Oustanding Lineman was Mike Kiselak in 1997.
JAMES WILDER JR. // RB // MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
Wilder kicked off the season on special teams, racking up seven tackles on punt and kickoff coverage units leading up to Week 13 against Edmonton. He then burst onto the scene following the Argos bye week, exploding for 257 combined yards (190 on the ground and 67 receiving) and a touchdown on 18 touches in a win over the Edmonton Eskimos. His rushing total (190) was the fourth-highest in Argos single-game history and his 76-yard rushing touchdown was the league’s longest in 2017.
One week later, Wilder proved his breakout was not just a blip on the radar, rattling off another 218 combined yards (141 rushing and 77 receiving) against the Montreal Alouettes in another home win. His 331 rushing yards in the two contests was the largest total in a two-game stretch in Argos history. Wilder even managed to one-up himself with an 85-yard touchdown rush, again setting the season’s longest mark.
After a historic takeoff, Wilder has only gotten stronger down the stretch, finishing the season ranked fifth in rushing with 872 yards on only 122 carries while adding five touchdowns. The Florida State product led all players by a significant margin with 7.1 yards per carry and nine carries of 20+ yards. With a 136-yard performance in Week 20 vs. BC, his fourth 100-yard performances in his last six games, Wilder tied Ottawa’s William Powell (4) with the most 100-yard rushing games this season. The first-year back has been extremely productive in the passing game as well, ranking fourth on the Argos in receiving yards (533), fourth on the team in receptions (51) and his 467 yards after the catch are a team-high.
The last Argonaut to win Most Oustanding Rookie was Derrell Mitchell in 1997.
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