We're bringing back the Three Stars feature again this season, spotlighting the top offensive, defensive and special teams players each week, plus the top Canadian. First, second and third stars are determined in terms of how valuable their contribution was, so it won't be offence on top every week. Expect to see this every Monday. Note: these are based on CFL.ca stats, and the league has said those may be inaccurate in the preseason. Here are the picks from the second week of preseason action.
First star: Henry Burris, quarterback, Hamilton Tiger-Cats: He didn't have to go out and win his already-firmly-established job, but that perhaps makes what Burris did even more impressive. He completed 13 of 17 passes (76.5 per cent) for 198 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions Thursday. That's the kind of performance in line with what he did last season, where he should have been an all-star, and it suggests that perhaps he can still put up the numbers even following the offseason departure of last year's head coach/offensive coordinator George Cortez. Then again, the Tiger-Cats were playing a Winnipeg team that played so poorly, head coach Tim Burke said "The Little Sisters of the Poor would've beaten us." Still, it was a great showing from long-time CFL vet Burris, and one that bodes well for Hamilton.
(Also considered: Kory Sheets, RB, Saskatchewan; Curtis Steele, RB, Toronto; Cary Koch, SB, Edmonton.)
Second star: Shawn Lemon, defensive end, Calgary Stampeders: Lemon's three-sack performance against Saskatchewan Thursday may have won him a job, and it also likely sealed the Stampeders' surprising decision to cut veteran DE Stevie Baggs. Lemon's a three-year CFL veteran out of Akron, but he's on his third team after stints in Saskatchewan and Edmonton. Maybe this is a sign he's ready to break through.
(Also considered: Raymond Brown, DB, Hamilton; Joshua Bell, DB, B.C.; Cleyon Laing, DE, Toronto.)
Third star: Lindsey Lamar, returner/running back, Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Former University of South Florida Bulls star Lamar had a reputation as one of the fastest players in college football, and he showed off that speed Thursday against Winnipeg, taking a punt return back 78 yards for a touchdown. All in all, he returned three punts for 109 yards and showed he might just be a replacement for a certain holdout. Not bad.
(Also considered: Grant Shaw, P/K, Edmonton; Korey Williams, returner/receiver, B.C.; Rob Maver, P, Calgary.)
Bonus star/top Canadian: Grant Shaw, punter/kicker, Edmonton Eskimos: Shaw showed off his usual versatility Friday against B.C., booming seven punts 309 yards (44.1 yards per punt) and making both of his field goal attempts. He was a key part of Edmonton's 27-22 victory over the Lions.
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