While we already lamented Teddy Bridgewater's AAC Offensive POY snub, another Cardinal who came to Louisville as a quarterback has been named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.
Marcus Smith, who will enter the Russell Athletic Bowl ranking second in the nation in sacks and 17th in tackles for loss, picked up the honor. In his senior season, Smith registered 12.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, forced three fumbles and recovered two fumbles, pacing a defense that allowed just 257.9 yards (second nationally) and 12.4 points per game (third nationally).
Here is the conference's full list of individual honorees:
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (Jr., Oveido, Fla.)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville (Sr., Columbus, Ga.)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Demarcus Ayers, RS, Houston (Fr., Lancaster, Texas)
Tom Hornsey, P, Memphis (Sr., Geelong, Victoria, Australia)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
John O'Korn, QB, Houston (Fr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR
George O'Leary, UCF
Major congratulations to Marcus on this honor.