Marcus Smith wins AAC Defensive award

University of Louisville senior defensive end Marcus Smith was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday. Six other U of L players were named to the first-team All-Conference squad by the league.

University of Louisville senior defensive end Marcus Smith capped off a senior season with a big honor on Wednesday afternoon.

Smith was honored as the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

He's been the leader on a defense than ranks in the top five of nearly every statistical category for the 11-1 Cardinals.

Smith registered 12.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, had three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in the regular season, pacing a defense that allowed just 257.9 yards (second nationally) and 12.4 points per game (third nationally).

Heading into bowl season, Smith ranks second among all FBS players in sacks and was 17th nationally in tackles for loss.

Smith was joined on the first-team All-AAC by safety Hakeem Smith, safety Calvin Pryor, cornerback Charles Gaines, wide receiver DeVante Parker, center Jake Smith and left tackle Jamon Brown.

Second-team selections from U of L were: quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, left guard John Miller, defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin and linebacker Preston Brown.

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles was named Offensive Player of the Year.