The Associated Press has been handing out a college football player of the year award since 1998. Five times the AP's award has gone to a player other than the Heisman Trophy winner, including last year when Stanford's Christian McCaffrey beat out Alabama's Derrick Henry.
In the past the AP has asked its college football poll voters to cast a vote for one player it determines to be the best in college football. This season the AP used a Heisman-style system, asking voters to cast a ballot with a top three in order. First-place votes receive three points, two points for second and one for third. The winner is the player who receives the most points.
The AP player of the year will be announced Tuesday. Here are the top three vote-getters in alphabetical order:
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Allen has 56 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hurries and returned two fumbles for touchdowns. He won the Bronco Nagurski Award given to the nation's top defensive player. The 293-pound junior has been a dominant player on the nation's best defense for the No. 1 team in the country. Alabama leads the country in total defense, scoring defense and rush defense. The defending national champions will play No. 4 Washington in College Football Playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Heisman Trophy winner has run for 21 touchdowns, thrown 30 TD passes and is averaging 410 total yards per game. He threw for 3,390 yards, and ran for 1,538 yards and 6.6 per carry. Jackson led the 15th-ranked Cardinals to a 9-3 season and an invitation to the Citrus Bowl to play No. 19 LSU.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Heisman runner-up and Davey O'Brien Award winner as the nation's top quarterback led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff for the second straight season. The junior passed for 3,914 yards and 37 touchdowns and run for 529 and six touchdowns. No. 3 Clemson will face No. 2 Ohio State in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl.
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