Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams is The Associated Press college football player of the year, becoming the school’s first winner of the award since 2005 with his stellar debut season for the Trojans.
Williams received 32 of the 46 first-place votes and 117 total points from AP Top 25 poll voters to win the award presented by Regions Bank. The Heisman Trophy favorite finished well ahead of TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who came in second with six first-place votes and 64 points.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was third, with Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker in fourth and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett fifth.
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., the first repeat SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was the only non-quarterback in this year’s top eight vote-getters, finishing sixth after coming in fourth last season.
Stroud and Hooker got two first-place votes apiece, while one first-place vote each went to Bennett, Anderson and star running backs Bijan Robinson of Texas and Blake Corum of Michigan.
The clear favorite was Williams, the elusive passer and runner with an electrifying arm and strong leadership skills. The sophomore followed Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to the West Coast last winter, and the duo immediately returned USC (11-2) to national prominence with a seven-win improvement on last season’s record.
Williams has passed for 4,075 yards with an FBS-leading 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season, completing 66.1% of his passes while winning the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Year award.
His ability to avoid defensive pressure has bordered on the supernatural at times, and he has racked up 372 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns while setting the USC school records for total touchdowns and total offensive yards (4,447) in a season.