Alabama’s Smith becomes first WR to win AP player of the year

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NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama at Florida

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith was voted the Associated Press college football player of the year, it was announced Tuesday, making him the first wide receiver to win the award since it was established in 1998.

Smith received 26 first-place votes and totaled 114 points, outscoring his teammate, quarterback Mac Jones, who received nine first-place votes and 67 total points. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was third with nine first-place votes and 49 points.

Smith, a senior, also became the first Alabama player to win the AP award. He led the country in receptions (98), receiving yards (1,151) and yards after the catch (768) for the No. 1 Crimson Tide, who will meet No. 4 Notre Dame in a College Football Playoff semifinal game Friday in Arlington, Texas.

By receiving the AP award, Smith becomes the favorite for the Heisman Trophy, which will be announced Jan. 5. Nine of the past 10 winners of the AP POY award has also won the Heisman. The only exception was in 2015, when Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey won the AP award but Alabama running back Derrick Henry won the Heisman.

Smith, Jones, Lawrence and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, who finished fourth in the AP voting with three first-place votes and 44 points, are the Heisman finalists. The AP award winner has also won the Heisman 17 of 22 times.

Two players received one first-place vote each and tied for sixth place with three points for the AP award -- Clemson running back Travis Etienne and North Carolina running back Javonte Williams. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts finished fifth with five points but no first-place votes.

In becoming the first wide receiver in the 23 years of the award, Smith joins 17 quarterbacks, four running backs, and one defensive lineman (Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh, 2009).

-Field Level Media