By Various Writers

A note from the Editor-in-chief: As beat writers, it’s our natural inclination to speculate and make predictions, because obviously we know best and we’re always right! This inherent need led to a discussion in the Beat Office about which players are going to win Season 11’s awards. Naturally, this progressed to a few of us deciding to formulate these discussions into a quarterly article and ‘voila!’, a ‘Way Too Early’ predictions piece is the result. You don’t have to agree, in fact we expect you not to, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the read.

Offensive Player of the Season

1. Ron Cockren, Quarterback, Alaska Storm

The Alaska Storm look as good ever after their championship winning season, opening Season 11 3-0, for the most part, dominating in the process. Ron Cockren  in particular has been lighting it up, leading the Storm offense to and average of 34 points per game. Despite averaging 46.3 passing attempts per game, Cockren has not had more than 10 incompletions once this season, leading all quarterbacks with an 81.29% completion percentage. Cockren is tied for first in passing touchdowns with 10 and has yet to end a game below 250 passing yards. Dare I mention the phrase ‘MVP’?

2. Mike Osayi, Wide Receiver, Dallas Lobos

Mike Osayi has somewhat quietly dominated the wide receiver position so far this season. In three games, he has failed to finish with less than 10 catches, has scored at least one touchdown in each game and already had two, 200-yard games. In Week three, Osayi had a ridiculous 22 catches to help lead the Dallas Lobos past the Las Vegas Fury. He was only one catch shy of having two 20-catch games when he finished with 19 catches in Week one. He’s currently on pace to finish the season with over 200 catches. While he only averages 11.1 yards per catch, he’s tied for the second most receiving touchdowns in the SFL with four.

3. Jaye Eniola, Halfback, Tallahassee Pride

The Tallahassee Pride have given running back Jaye Eniola a much larger role in the offense this season and it seems to be paying dividends. After averaging just 12.8 carries per game last season, he has nearly doubled his touches so far this season, taking on 23.3 carries per game. Eniola is the league’s current rushing yards leader and is one of two running backs to have 100 rushing yards every game. Eniola is 2nd in the league in yards per carry (7.5) and is tied for 4th in rushing touchdowns (3). Eniola has been one of the most consistent running backs so far n Season 11 and is a big reason why the Pride are primed for another championship run.

Defensive Player of the Season

1. Alex Dominguez, Defensive Tackle, Alaska Storm

The Alaska Storm defense might be the best defense in the league this season. Through three games, the most points they’ve allowed in a game is 17 to the Mexico City Aztecs. In that game, Storm defensive tackle Alex Dominguez finished with six sacks. After a quiet game against the Vancouver Legion, Dominguez showed up again against the Sioux Falls Sparrows, racking up 3.5 sacks, bringing his total sacks up to 9.5 in the season, which leads the league. On top of leading in sacks, Dominguez also leads the league in tackles for loss with 11.

2. Oskar Dunklee, Cornerback, Queen City Corsairs

While he couldn’t grab an interception in his most recent game against the Baltimore Vultures, Queen City Corsairs cornerback, Oskar Dunklee, still leads the league in interceptions with five. A big part of that was his game against the London Knights, where he intercepted Knights quarterback, Nathan Lee, four times and deflected an additional five passes. While he may not be able recreate a four-interception game, his interception total could make opposing quarterbacks think twice before throwing on his side for the foreseeable future.

3. Freeman Peltier, Free Safety, St. Louis Gladiators

While the Alaska Storm may have the best overall defense in the league, the St. Louis Gladiators are also up there. In three games, the Gladiators’ secondary has 11 interceptions. Tied for 1st on the team and 2nd in the league with four interceptions is their free safety, Freeman Peltier. Peltier is currently tied for the 2nd most interceptions in the league. Peltier has had an interception in every game this season. In Week two against the New Orleans Pharaohs, Peltier had two interceptions in the Gladiators’ win.

Offensive Rookie of the Season

1. Colin Hart, Halfback, Sioux Falls Sparrows

With their 26th overall pick, acquired in a trade with the Carolina Skyhawks, the Sioux Falls Sparrows selected running back Colin Hart to replace the departed Robert Redford. Not talked about much over the offseason, Hart burst onto the scene and made a huge name for himself with his performance against the Tulsa Desperados, gaining 234 yards on a mere 23 carries and finding the endzone 3 times. In his next game against Las Vegas (who were the team that signed Redford from the Sparrows this offseason), he carried the ball 23 times again, this time resulting in 137 yards and 2 touchdowns aswell as scoring 2 touchdowns from passes caught in the backfield. Hart is currently 3rd in the league in rushing yards, 1st in yards per carry, and 2nd in touchdowns. Although it’s only been 3 games, these are huge numbers and if he keeps them up he will be a favourite for OROTS.

2. Junior Senior III, Wide Receiver, Dallas Lobos

Taken 4th overall by the Dallas Lobos, expectations were high coming into the season for the rookie wide receiver. Senior proved he was worthy of his draft position in Week 1, as he hauled in 13 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. In his next game against the Hyenas he cooled down, but only slightly, adding 9 receptions for 99 yards to his season total. In case viewers and teammates weren’t sold on the fact that he earned his high pick, he set out to make sure they were convinced with a whopping 15 receptions for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns in a win against the Las Vegas Fury. Senior is currently 2nd in receptions, 3rd in yards, and tied for 3rd in touchdowns. Junior Senior III is a force this season for the Lobos’ offense and he is easily a candidate for OROTS.

3. SURPRISE PICK: Rob Roby, Quarterback, San Francisco Sharks

You may be asking: “How possibly can Rob Roby be here, he’s played one game?!” Well I will tell you, these are called “Way Too Early Award Predictions” for a reason. This article is based on previous play yes, but it’s mostly about the potential seen so far and the writer’s belief that these players will capitalize on the potential to become a candidate for OROTS. I believe Rob Roby will capitalize on the potential shown so far and turn it into an award bid! Here are some facts about the Nightwings’ defense going into the game against the Sharks: they were allowing only 11 points per game (the best in the league at that time), their secondary had only allowed 287 yards through the air combined through 2 weeks, and lastly their defense had given up no passing touchdowns. Rob Roby came in Week 3 as an undrafted rookie signed only a few days before the game and put on a show. Roby went 33-45 with 327 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and led the offense to 37 points in the win. Although he did throw one interception, the rest of these numbers are nothing to scoff at. The most important part of this stat line is that he led the Sharks to their first victory of the season. I believe he will build from that game and will be a surefire OROTS candidate by season’s end.

Defensive Rookie of the Season

1. Tyrone Zeus, Defensive End, London Knights

Why? When you lead rookies in sacks, you should be on the list for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Zeus is second on the sack leader list behind the sack master himself, Alex Dominguez. Although this is way too early, Zeus should be someone to keep an eye on. Also, being drafted in 2nd round, the beast of a defensive end has teams in the 1st round looking silly.

2) Chad Guy, Linebacker, San Francisco Sharks

Why? Chad Guy is having quite an impressive year and is flying under the radar currently. He is currently 5th on the tackles list behind some pretty impressive SFL vets like Wyo, King, Shaun and Clint. He currently has 31 tackles on the season, which puts him at 10.3 per game. Rubning backs, look out for Guy when you go against him because he may certainly be the one that is tackling you. He was drafted 11th overall; he is living up to that slot and possibly should have been taken higher.

3) Matthew Sprous, Cornerback, Tallahassee Pride

Why? This last spot I could have given to Nathan Blake or Ethan Kye, but why not use this to put someone in the spot light who hasn’t been there at all. Sprous is having a solid year for Tallahassee. He leads all defenders with 9 passes deflected and has 14 tackles to his name. He currently has zero interceptions, but I do not see him staying at zero. Kye and Blake have the interceptions but it is not all about that. Sprous went undrafted and is showing up every game; continuing his pace will only help him move up this board.

Major props to Hunter Jones, AJ Francis and Jeff Melinyshyn for their hard work. Check back in 3 Weeks for more early awards predictions.

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