Montreal Carabins quarterback Senecal wins Hec Crighton Trophy

KINGSTON, ON — A historic first for Jonathan Senecal.

The Montreal Carabins quarterback won the Hec Crighton Trophy at the U Sport football awards banquet on Thursday evening. This honor is awarded annually to the outstanding player in Canadian university football.

The six-foot, 200-pound Senecal became the first rifle to win this award.

“It’s a great honor,” Sénécal said. “I don’t really care about the awards, I’m not going to lie… but it’s the first in Carabins history and I’m very happy about it.”

Senecal, 24, of Mirabel, Que., led the RSEQ in passing, completing 160 of 230 passes (69.6 percent) for 2,215 yards with 15 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The third-year business administration student also finished fourth in rushing with a school-record 394 yards on 34 carries (11.6-yard average) and six touchdowns.

Senecal led Montreal to a 7-1 regular season record. The Carabins will face the University of British Columbia in the Vanier Cup on Saturday afternoon at Richardson Stadium.

“This (Hec Crighton) is nothing compared to the Vanier Cup,” said Sénécal. “I am very happy to receive this award, it means that I am doing something great.

“We will just have to prove on Saturday that we are the best team.”

Other winners include Theo Benedet of UBC (JP Metras, outstanding lineman) and Harold Miessan of Montreal (President’s Trophy, best standing lineman). Justin Cloutier of Laval (Peter Gorman Trophy, best rookie), Mark Mauhaus of Manitoba (Russ Jackson, excellence in football, academics and community service) and Chris Morris of Alberta (Frank Tindall Trophy, coach of the year ).

The six-foot-seven, 305-pound Benedet won the JP Metras Trophy for a second straight year, becoming the first offensive lineman to do so and only the third player overall. Laval defensive wingers Mathieu Betts and Arnaud Gascon-Nadon were the others.

Benedet, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, was Canada West’s top lineman for a second straight season. The fourth-year arts student played a big role in UBC’s offense and participated in last year’s East-West Shrine Bowl.

“It’s so nice to be able to represent my teammates in terms of success,” he said. “When you play offensive line, unit success only happens if all five move as one, so it’s really a credit to the other four guys next to me.

“Some of the people who won this award before me, like Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (retired NFL guard) are huge inspirations to me.”

Miessan, a six-foot, 201-pound linebacker, recorded a team-high 36 tackles (three for loss). The 24-year-old Montrealer, a third-year industrial design student, added a sack, a fumble recovery and two interferences for the Carabins.

And like Sénécal, Miessan’s eyes remain on the bigger prize.

“It’s nice to be recognized, but I’m here for the collective goal…the Vanier Cup,” Miessan said. “The way I see it, if you don’t win, the other things don’t really mean anything.”

Morris guided the Alberta Golden Bears to a 6-2 record and a second-place finish in Canada West. It was the school’s first winning drive since 2005.

The former CFL offensive lineman – and three-time Gray Cup champion – has now led Alberta to playoff appearances in three of the last four years.

“It’s quite an honor,” Morris said. “I have so much respect for the other coaches at U Sports, it’s an incredible group of people doing the job that I’m fortunate to do.

“The 2024 version of our team is going to be strong. I think we have a very good group of young people, a very good staff and we should be strong in the future, but each year is independent.”

Cloutier, 20, of Quebec, had 28.5 tackles (22 solo) in seven regular season games for Laval. The six-foot-one, 215-pound linebacker also had a sack, becoming the fourth Rouge et Or player to win this award after Mathieu Betts (2015), Hugo Richard (2014) and Jean-Frédéric Tremblay (2000).

Rauhaus, a six-foot, 285-pound offensive lineman from Manitoba, was honored for his play on the field and dedication off it. This year alone, the Winnipeg native was selected for the President’s Student Leadership Program and was elected by his peers to serve on the UMAC executive as director of Bisons Against Bullying.

Senecal and Miessan were among eight Carabins named to the first All-Canadian team. Others included guard Alassane Diouf, defensive tackle Christopher Fontenard, defensive end Jeremiah Ojo, defensive back Bruno Lagace, cornerback Kaylyn St-Cyr and running back Charles-Elliot Boulianne.

The Western Mustangs had three players named to the team, receiver Savaughn Magnaye-Jones, tackle Erik Andersen and safety Jackson Findlay.

Benedet and Lucas Robertson (utility player) were the two Thunderbirds named to the team.

Alberta (running back Mathew Peterson, center Daniel Shin), Laurier (receiver Ethan Jordan, linebacker Ife Onyemenam), Saskatchewan (linebacker Nick Wiebe, cornerback Katley Joseph), Queen’s (running back Jared Chisari , defensive tackle Darien Newell) and Manitoba (receiver AK Gassama, guard Giordano Vaccaro) also had two players named.

Defensive end Tyson Hergott (Waterloo), defensive back Eric Cumberbatch (Ottawa), receiver Darius Simmons (McGill), kicker Aldo Galvan (Regina), kicker Ben Hadley (St. Francis Xavier) and returner Javonni Cunningham (Windsor) were also selected.

The Rush/Cover and Utility (Fullback/Tight End/H-back) models were both added this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in November. 23, 2023.

Alec Dittman

"Web specialist. Social media ninja. Amateur food aficionado. Alcohol advocate. General creator. Beer guru."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *