Quarterback Zach Collaros of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has plenty of familiar company on the West Division all-star team.
Collaros was among 15 Bombers named to the squad Wednesday. Voting was conducted by members of the Football Reporters of Canada and the nine CFL head coaches.
Collaros, 33, was a big part of Winnipeg (11-3) posting the CFL’s best regular-season record. He won 11-of-13 starts this season, completing 70.2 per cent of his passes for 3,185 yards with a league-high 20 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Winnipeg, the defending Grey Cup champion, will now host either the Saskatchewan Roughriders or the Calgary Stampeders in the West Division final Dec. 5.
Joining Collaros on the West Division offence are Winnipeg receivers Kenny Lawlor (64 catches, 1,014 yards, six TDs) and Nic Demski (48 catches, 654 yards, four TDs), guards Drew Desjarlais and Patrick Neufeld and tackles Stanley Bryant and Jermarcus Hardrick. Demski, Desjarlais and Neufeld were all unanimous selections.
Linebacker Adam Bighill topped the seven Bombers selected for the defence. Bighill registered 70 tackles for the CFL’s top-ranked defence this season with two sacks, three tackles for a loss, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Also named were defensive linemen Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat, linebacker Alden Darby, cornerback DeAundre Alford, halfback Deatrick Nichols and safety Brandon Alexander.
Mike Miller, who posted a CFL-high 25 special-teams tackles, earned Winnipeg’s other all-star berth as a unanimous special-teams pick.
The Calgary Stampeders have seven players on the squad, including Australian-born punter Cody Grace, who became the first global player to be selected as an all-star. The others were running back Ka’Deem Carey, receiver Kamar Jorden, centre Sean McEwen (unanimous), defensive tackle Mike Rose, linebacker Darnell Sankey and kicker Rene Paredes (unanimous).
The B.C. Lions had three players on the squad — receivers Bryan Burnham and Willie Whitehead and halfback T.J. Lee –while the Saskatchewan Roughriders had two representatives in defensive tackle Micah Johnson and cornerback Nick Marshall. The Edmonton Elks had no selections.
Linebacker Simoni Lawrence topped the list of 10 Hamilton Tiger-Cats named to the East Division squad. Lawrence, who became the franchise’s leading tackler in last week’s 24-3 home win over Saskatchewan, was among six Ticats selected to the defensive unit along with defensive linemen Ja’Gared Davis and Dylan Wynn, cornerback Jamal Rolle, halfback Cariel Brooks and safety Tunde Adeleke (unanimous).
Hamilton’s offensive selections were receivers Tim White and Jaelon Acklins, guard Brandon Revenberg (unanimous) and tackle Chris Van Zeyl (unanimous).
The first-place Toronto Argonauts had seven players named to the squad. The offensive selections were quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. and centre Peter Nicastro, with the latter two Canadians both being unanimous picks.
Defensive lineman Shawn Oakman, linebacker Chris Edwards and halfback Shaquille Richardson were named to the defence while kicker Boris Bede was a special-teams selection.
CFL rushing leader William Stanback (1,178 yards) topped the list of seven Montreal Alouettes named. The others were receivers Eugene Lewis and Jake Wieneke, guard Kristian Matte, tackle Landon Rice, defensive end David Menard and defensive back Monshadrick Hunter.
Menard, Rice and Matte were all unanimous picks.
Kick-returner Devon Dedmon was among the three Ottawa Redblacks selections. The others were linebacker Avery Williams and punter Richie Leone.
The CFL all-stars will be announced in December.
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