After a first-place East Division finish, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been rewarded for their efforts by having eight of their players named to the CFL’s 2011 East Division All-Star Team, the most by any other team in their division.
Receiver Terrence Edwards and offensive linemen Brendon LaBatte and Glenn January were recognized on offence, while defensive linemen Doug Brown and Odell Willis along with defensive backs Jovon Johnson, Jonathan Hefney and Ian Logan took home the honours on defence.
Terrence Edwards earned his second straight divisional All-Star selection and the third of his career after leading the Blue Bombers in receiving with 66 receptions for 1,124 yards and eight touchdowns. This season marked the fourth 1,000 yard season of his career and moved him up to sixth spot on the Blue Bombers’ all-time receiving yardage list.
Brendon LaBatte takes home his third-straight divisional All-Star selection after starting every game on the offensive line primarily at guard, but also started the final three at center. He was named the team’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman earlier this year.
Glenn January had a tremendous year coming off a torn pectoral injury that sidelined him for all of last season. He started every game at the right tackle position and this is the first divisional All-Star selection for the five-year veteran.
Doug Brown may be one of the oldest players in the league, but that hasn’t stopped the 37-year old from playing at the top of his game. Despite missing three games due to injury, Brown still managed to record 29 tackles and three quarterback sacks. This is his eighth divisional All-Star selection of his eleven-year career.
Odell Willis has developed into one of the league’s most dominant rush ends as the third-year player tied for the league-lead in sacks with 13. Willis appeared in every game for the Blue Bombers and also added 27 tackles and four forced fumbles. This is his first divisional All-Star selection.
Jovon Johnson has already added the East Division’s Most Outstanding Player award to his resume and can now add three-time divisional All-Star to it as well. This season, Johnson led the league with eight interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns, and also added 55 tackles and five pass knockdowns. While he excelled at the corner position, he also filled in at both halfback and safety throughout the season and recorded at least one interception in every position in the secondary.
Jonathan Hefney was a standout in the Winnipeg secondary all season, leading the team with 76 tackles while also picking off six passes, tied for second in the league behind Johnson. He also added two fumble recoveries and a team-high 11 pass knockdowns. Hefney was also named a CFL All-Star as a rookie in 2009.
Ian Logan anchored the Winnipeg secondary this season at safety and finished the year with 34 tackles and four interceptions. Those four interceptions tied a career-high for him and helped him earn his first divisional All-Star selection in his sixth year in the CFL.
The Division All-Stars were selected by 70 voters, including members of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC), CFL head coaches, and CFL fans from across the country.
The FRC voting panel consists of representation from each CFL market and a national chapter.
The CFL.ca All-Star Balloting program reopens today for fans to make their selections for the 2011 CFL All-Stars. The final round of voting for fans closes on Sunday, November 13, prior to kickoff (1:00pm ET) of the Eastern SemiFinal in Montreal where the Alouettes host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Olympic Stadium. The Western SemiFinal kicks off at 4:30pm ET in Edmonton where the Eskimos take on the Calgary Stampeders.
The CFL All-Stars will be announced on Wednesday, November 16 at Noon ET.
Fans can vote by visiting CFL.ca or www.cflallstars.com.