The Corish Trophy 2021 candidates have been announced. The Cornish Trophy is in its’ fourth year. Chuba Hubbard won the tophy last year. Prior to that it was won in 2018 & 2019 by Ohio Bobcats QB Nathan Rourke.
So the trophy is in its’ fourth year but so far it has only had two winners. Hubbard is among the nominees again. Could we end up with two names in four years, or will a new name appear?
What is the Cornish Trophy?
The nominees are selected by a panel of former NCAA players with a connection to Canada, scouting staff from CFL teams and media who cover college football from a Canadian perspective.
All evaluations pertain solely to performances from the last season alone. The Cornish Trophy itself is on permanent display at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton.
Why is it called that?
The trophy is named after Canadian RB Jon Cornish. Cornish had a successful college career with the Kansas Jayhawks. In 2006, he rushed for 1,457 yards, making him the all-time single-season rusher at Kansas.
Cornish Trophy Finalists 2021
The selection committee for the Jon Cornish Trophy 2021 selected five finalists for the top Canadian in NCAA Football in the 2020-21 season. Let’s take a look at who they are.
Senior RS/Safety – West Virginia
Addae has a family pedigree in the CFL. His grandfather Willie Bethea played running back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1963-70, winning Grey Cups in 1963, ’65 and ’67. He is on the Ti-cats wall of honour.
Taken in the second-round of the recent CFL Draft by the Ottawa RedBlacks, Addae would love to have even a part of that success at the Pro level.
He made a name for himself following transfer from New Hampshire to West Virginia. He made a name because over 10 games with the Vols he was first in solo tackles. And second in tackles overall. He also had 2 interceptions and seven passes defended.
As he reatins eligibility Addae may well return to West Virginia next year. But the RedBlacks have a potential future investment on their hands.
Junior RS/Running Back – Oklahoma State
As noted above, Hubbard won the Cornish Trophy last year. And that wasn’t too much of a surprise. Especially because in 2019 he finished the season as the FBS leader in rushing yards, rushing yards per game, 200-yard rushing games and all-purpose yards per game.
He did not have as dominant a season in 2020 thanks to a litany of injury issues. That said, he was still a scond team All Big-12 selection. This following having missed 4 games, and being injured in 2 others.
Over 7 games he recorded 625 rushing yards and 5 TD’s. Hubbard averaged 89.3 rushing yards per game behind a banged up O Line too.
He was picked up by the Carolina Panthers in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. And the Calgary Stampeders as a high risk/high reward pick in the CFL Draft.
Senior/Offensive Tackle – Iowa
The BC Lions selected Jackson in the 2nd round of the 2021 CFL Draft. Jackson was born in Windsor, Ontario, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. The 6’7’’ lineman had NBA dreams in younger days but came to realise that football was the path for him.
He had interest from Big Ten conference colleges such as Wisconsin and Michigan. But Jackson ultimatley chose the University of Iowa. Redshirted in 2016, in 2017 he was named an academic All-Big Ten and first-team freshman All-America by Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
With plenty of experience at the college level this Cornish Trophy 2021 candidate started 42 career games at Iowa. He was a regular All-American, all-conference player from 2017 to 2020, starting every game he played at left tackle.
Following the NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams signed Jackson as an undrafted free agent. Whilst he tries to make it onto the Rams squad, he has a CFL option too if he doesn’t make it.
John Metchie III
Sophomore/Receiver – Alabama
Playing in the ultra competitive SEC, Metchie had 55 catches for 916 yards and 6 TD’s for the powerhouse that is Alabama. His role expanded following injury to Jaylen Waddle. And Metchie took full advantage averaging 16.7 yards per catch.
Because 35 of his 55 catches resulted in either a First Down or TD, we can see that not only did he step up, but he was ultra productive for the Crimson Tide.
During the season at various times the Alabama coaching staff named him either Special Teams or Offensive player of the week on seperate occasions.
Having had 4 catches for 23 yards in 2019, he blossomed into one of Alabama’s top 3 wideouts in 2020.
Senior/Linebacker – Oklahoma State
Just like his Oklahoma State teammate Hubbard, Ogbongbemiga was selected as a high risk/high reward pick in the CFL Draft by the Stampeders.
He 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. Ogbongbemiga was voted a team captain by his teammates for the second consecutive season.
Finished 2020 with 81 tackles (51 solo), both of which were second on the team. Also recorded at least three tackles in every game and at least five tackles in seven games. Adding 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Picked up by the LA Chargers in the NFL Draft, the Stamps will monitor his status.
Senior/Receiver – Tennessee
Palmer is the second SEC reciever to appear on this list. He played his college ball with the Tennessee Volunteers before being selected by the LA Chargers in the 2021 NFL Draft.
He had 33 receptions for 475 yards and 4 Touchdowns. As a result of which he was the leading receiver for the Volunteers. 23 of the 33 grabs Palmer made went for a First Down. Ranked 13th in the SEC in 20+ yard catches (9).
So who is the favourite to win the Cornsih Trophy 2021? Luckily we don’t have long to wait to find out. Because the presentation of the 2021 trophy will be made on the 24th of May.
If I was voting I’d be tempted to go with John Metchie III. But the actual winner remains to be seen. As ever, it will be fascinating and fun when that happens.
Banner Image: Amen Ogbongbemiga – Cornish Trophy 2021 candidate. Image from si.com