BURLINGTON, ON – Eight members of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team were honoured as OUA All-Stars, for a total of 10 positions, on Wednesday as the conference announced the first and second team award recipients ahead of Saturday’s 110th Yates Cup championship game.
Headlining the list of recipients is Kurleigh Gittens Jr. of Ottawa, who was named as an OUA First Team All-Star at both receiver and returner. In doing so, he becomes just the second Golden Hawk to ever be named a first team all-star at multiple positions in the same season, joining former Laurier great Ian Logan who accomplished the feat in 2005.
Gittens Jr. had a remarkable season for the purple and gold as he set a new U SPORTS record for receptions in a season with 75 and a new Laurier school record for receiving yards with 953, the highest total in Canada this year. He also added six touchdowns through the air as the focal point of Laurier’s high-powered offence in 2017.
On special teams, the third year sociology major was just as potent as he totaled 355 return yards on both punts and kick returns, including a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown, to give him a U SPORTS-best 1,665 all-purpose yards.
Joining Gittens Jr. as a dual all-star is Godfrey Onyeka of Brampton, Ont., who was recognized as a first team all-star at defensive back and a second team all-star as rush/cover on special teams.
This season, the fourth year arts major and one of the top CFL prospects for next year’s draft, was dominant across the board. He led the Hawks in tackles with 42.5 while recording two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception, one sack, two tackles for a loss, three pass breakups and a blocked kick.
Joining Gittens Jr. and Onyeka as a first team all-star is third year defensive lineman Trevaughan James of Whitby, Ont. The kinesiology and physical education major was a run-stopping machine for a Laurier defence that ranked fourth in the OUA against the run this season. He posted 26.5 tackles to go with 2.5 sacks in earning all-star recognition for the first time in his career.
Five other Hawks were honoured as second team all-stars including a pair on offence in receiver Brentyn Hall of Toronto, and offensive lineman Chris Reddy of Kitchener, Ont. Both first time all-stars, Hall flourished in his second year with the purple and gold as he caught 30 passes for 583 yards and five touchdowns while Reddy was part of an offensive line that allowed just five sacks all season.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Robbie Smith of Brampton, Ont., linebacker Brandon Calver of London, Ont., and Isaiah Guzylak-Messam of Hamilton, are all all-stars for the first time in their careers as they were named to the second team.
Smith, in his third year with the Hawks, set a new team record for sacks in a season with 10.5, tying him for the lead in U SPORTS in 2017, to go along with 27.5 tackles, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Calver, in his fifth and final year with Laurier, finished with 31 tackles in six games played to rank him third all-time in team history with 175 tackles.
As for Guzylak-Messam, the fourth year had 28 tackles in seven games along with seven pass breakups, the most in the conference, and two interceptions.
The 10 all-star nods for the purple and gold are the most the team has had since 2009.