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Alabama's DeVonta Smith Becomes First WR to Win AP Player of the Year


DeVonta Smith of Alabama is The Associated Press college football player of the year and the first wide receiver to win the award since it was established in 1998.

In what could be a preview of the Heisman Trophy voting, Smith received 26 first-place votes and 114 points to finish comfortably ahead of his teammate and quarterback, Mac Jones.

Jones received nine first-place votes and 67 points as he and Smith became the first teammates to finish 1-2 in the voting for AP player of the year.

Smith is also the first Alabama player to win the award.

“Probably one of the most selfless guys that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach in terms of whatever he can do to help the team he wants to do,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “The guy is one of the most popular guys on the team and also one of the leaders of the team that everybody looks up to because of the example that he sets every day and how he goes about his work.”

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence finished third with nine first-place votes and 49 points and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask was fourth with three first-place votes and 44 points.

Smith, Jones, Lawrence and Trask are the Heisman Trophy finalists. The trophy will be presented on Jan. 5.

The AP player of the year has gone to the Heisman winner 17 of 22 times previously. The two most recent times when the AP player of the year and the Heisman went to different players involved Alabama’s Heisman winners.

In 2009, Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram won the Heisman in one of the closest votes in the history of the award, but Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh was AP player of the year.

Derrick Henry won the 2015 Heisman for the Tide, but Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey was AP player of the year.

Like the Heisman, quarterbacks have dominated the AP player of the year, with 17 QBs winning the award, along with four running backs.

Smith, who is trying to become the first receiver to win the Heisman since 1991, has 98 catches for 1,511 yards and has scored 19 touchdowns.

AP Player Of The Year Voting

DeVonta Smith, Alabama - 114 (26 first-place votes)

Mac Jones, Alabama - 67 (9)

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson - 49 (9)

Kyle Trask, Florida - 44 (3)

Kyle Pitts, Florida - 5

Travis Etienne, Clemson - 3 (1)

Javonte Williams, North Carolina - 3 (1)

Zach Wilson, BYU - 3

Najee Harris, Alabama - 2

Ian Book, Notre Dame - 2

Zaven Collins, Tulsa - 1

Breece Hall, Iowa State - 1