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Christian McCaffrey named AP Player of the Year

The Stanford running back became the first non-Heisman Trophy winner to receive the honor in six years...

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Christian McCaffrey is The Associated Press college football player of the year. As the runner-up to Alabama's Derrick Henry in the Heisman Trophy voting, McCaffrey crushed in this contest, receiving 29 of 60 votes from the AP Top 25 media panel.

He becomes the first non-Heisman winner to receive the honor in six years, Ndamukong Suh won the award in 2009 for his play at defensive tackle while with Nebraska. He is also the first Cardinal to ever receive the award, and the first running back to win the award since USC's Reggie Bush in 2005—who is widely regarded as one of the greatest running backs in college football history.

"This award is a testament to all the efforts and support of my teammates, coaches, staff and the entire Stanford football program," McCaffrey said in a statement to the AP on Tuesday.

McCaffrey will likely go down as one of the most memorable Heisman runner-ups in recent memory—he broke Barry Sanders' NCAA record for all-purpose yards in a season, recording an astounding 3,496, and still has one more game to tack on more. McCaffrey rushed for more than 100 yards 10 times this season.

His 1,847 rushing yards were second in the nation behind Henry; McCaffrey rushed for eight touchdowns, caught another four; recorded a team-high 540 yards off 41 receptions, and averaged 28.9 yards per kickoff return. To put the icing on the cake, he displayed his true value as Stanford's Swiss Army Knife by throw another two touchdown passes of his own.

Keep in mind, these numbers came from a young man who is barely old enough to vote—McCaffrey is just 19 years old.

"What is Christian McCaffrey? The answer is a football player," head coach David Shaw said. "It's not a running back. It's not a receiver. It's not a returner. It's a football player. You can say he had the best year in the history of college football."

Certain years, there is absolutely no doubt who the best player in the country is, and this year, that's Christian McCaffrey.