DeVonta Smith will have to wait until Jan. 5 to learn his Heiman fate, but the Alabama receiver picked up a different national honor on Tuesday. Smith was named The Associated Press’ college football player of the year, becoming the first Alabama player to receive the honor and the first receiver to win the award since it was established in 1998.
Smith received 26 first-place votes and 114 points, finishing above teammate Mac Jones who earned nine first-place votes and 67 points. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence also had nine first-place votes and finished with 49 points, while Florida quarterback Kyle Trask earned three first-place votes and 44 points. Those four are all finalists for the Heisman Trophy which will be presented on Jan. 5.
Smith leads the nation with 1,511 receiving yards and 98 receptions and ranks second with 17 receiving touchdowns. He is averaging 24.88 yards on eight punt returns, including an 84-yard touchdown against Arkansas.
Monday, Alabama head coach Nick Saban called the senior receiver “one of the most selfless guys that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach,” crediting him for his team-first approach despite his star status.
“He did a great job when we asked him to do that,” Saban said. “Never asked any questions. Was happy to do it. And I think that just shows what kind of person he is and what kind of teammate he is.
“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.”
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.
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