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Most Outstanding Rookie: Branden Dozier

The Canadian Football League announced on Wednesday the Montreal Alouettes‘ nominees for the 2017 Most Outstanding Player awards as selected by the voting members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and CFL head coaches. Linebacker Kyries Hebert was voted the team’s Most Outstanding Player as well as the Most Outstanding Defensive Player, while teammate Kristian Matte also received a double nomination for Most Outstanding Canadian Player and Most Outstanding Offensive lineman. Long snapper Martin Bédard was elected the team’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player, while defensive back Branden Dozier received the nod as Most Outstanding Rookie.

Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Kyries Hebert
Although he was watched very closely by his opponents and that he turned 37, Hebert didn’t seem to slow down in 2017. In 17 games this year, he amassed 108 defensive tackles, which places him third in the CFL and first in the East Division. That total is also the fourth best in team history and with one game to play, Hebert could break the top 3. The adoptive Montrealer created havoc among opposing squads, as he was also the author of two quarterback sacks and an interception, while forcing three fumbles. In his sixth season in Montreal, Hebert also proved his versatility as moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker following injuries which affected the team throughout the season. In the 2012, the Eunice, LA native was voted the team’s Most Outstanding Special Teams player.

Most Outstanding Canadian and Most Outstanding Offensive lineman: Kristian Matte
Thanks to the relentless work of the St.Hubert, QC native on the offensive line, the Alouettes currently sit second in the CFL for rushing yards (1,639) and rushing yards per game (96,4). His constant work in  an offensive line that was greatly affected by injuries in 2017 helped running back Tyrell Sutton climb to the fifth spot among CFL rushers with 843 yards in only 14 games. Prior to all the these injuries, he was part of an offensive line that did not allow a quarterback sack in the first three games of the season. The former Concordia University Stinger is currently in his eighth season with the Alouettes and he will have missed three games in 2017.

Most Outstanding Special Teams Player: Martin Bédard
In his ninth season with the Alouettes, Bédard consistent work continues to be recognized. On top of not missing a single snap this season, the 33-year-old Laval, QC native registered eight special teams tackles in 16 games. That total is furthermore impressive that he only plays on the punt and field goal units, so he can’t cumulate any special teams tackles on the kickoff unit like the rest of his teammates do. He also must make sure his snap is precise and block oncoming players before he can start to cover downfield, which doesn’t stop him from being one of the first players on the returner on almost every play. He had his best career game last Friday when he collected three special teams tackles.

Most Outstanding Rookie: Branden Dozier
During his first season, Dozier has gained the trust of his teammates and coaches, which earned him some valuable playing time. The former UNC-Charlotte 49er showed his versatility on defence and on special teams. On defence, he amassed an impressive total of 60 defensive tackles, including two sacks. The 23-year-old also scored a touchdown on a 20-yard fumble return against the Calgary Stampeders, which helped the Alouettes beat the best team in the CFL. He also collected 14 special teams tackles, good for second place on the team, as are his 74 totals tackles on the season. Along with ShiltzTouréWrightJamieson and company, Dozier is part of a strong crop of rookies that have played for the Alouettes this season.