For Martell Mallett, his rookie season started with low expectations.
"Coming in, I just wanted to make the team," he said. "I just wanted to get the opportunity."
He got the opportunity thanks to the departure of Stefan Logan and injury concerns with Ian Smart, and he made the most of it, rushing for 1,240 yards and six touchdowns on 214 carries. He also caught 43 passes and added 432 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Tonight, he was named the CFL's most outstanding rookie at the Gibson's Finest CFL Player Awards.
"Coach Wally and the offensive staff gave me the opportunity, and I just took it and ran with it," Mallett said.
Mallett played college football for the little-known University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff, so he said this award is one of the biggest milestones in his football career so far.
"Coming from a Division I-AA school, you can’t even get a bowl beard, so to win this is great," he said. "I’m completely satisfied."
That satisfaction doesn't have to breed complacency, though. Mallett said he plans extensive off-season training. He's determined not to rest on his laurels.
"I’m looking to do big things next year."