Heisman winner adds to award stack

Updated: December 23, 2004, 9:43 PM ET
Associated Press

USC: Matt Leinart is The Associated Press player of the year.

Leinart has completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,990 yards and 28 touchdowns, guiding the top-ranked Trojans to an Orange Bowl matchup with No. 2 Oklahoma and last year's AP player of the year, Jason White.

The AP player of the year voting was closer than this season's Heisman balloting, but the final order was similar. Leinart received 17 votes from a nationwide panel of 64 media members. White and his freshman teammate, Adrian Peterson, finished tied for second with 12 votes each.

USC tailback Reggie Bush was fourth with 11 votes and Utah quarterback Alex Smith had nine votes. Texas tailback Cedric Benson received two votes and Louisville quarterback Stefan Lefors got one.

Leinart is the fifth straight quarterback to win the AP award, following White, Iowa's Brad Banks, Florida's Rex Grossman and Oklahoma's Josh Heupel.

The award was established in 1998, and Texas tailback Ricky Williams was the first to win it.

Leinart has said he intends to return to USC for his senior year, but it's looking like he's a lock to be a high first-round NFL draft pick. He could even match Palmer again and go first overall.

"I'm aware of the opportunity," Leinart said. "We'll see what happens."

Oklahoma State: Cowboys cornerback Darrent Williams will not play in the Alamo Bowl against Ohio State following a suspension by coach Les Miles.

"He violated some team rules and is not on the trip," Cowboys coach Les Miles said Wednesday. "He will not play."

Miles did not elaborate on why Williams had been suspended.

Williams, who was considered the Cowboys' best cornerback entering the season after an all-Big 12 selection last season, broke his right forearm in Oklahoma State's win against Iowa State on Oct. 2.

After the injury, he returned to play one series and record one tackle against Texas, but missed the remainder of the season. Williams had participated on a limited basis in the Cowboys' practices leading up to the Alamo Bowl.

Before his injury, Williams had also been the Cowboys' top punt returner with an average of 27.7 yards on nine returns with one touchdown.

Miles wasn't concerned about the Cowboys coping with Williams' suspension.

"I've gotta be honest with you. The whole back half of the season, we played without him," Miles said. "We knew exactly how we were going to go. I just want to talk about the guys that are on the trip and focus on the team that we played with the back half of the year."

Temple: Temple linebacker Rian Wallace will skip his senior season and make himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Wallace was a first-team All Big East selection this year with 101 tackles, second in the conference. Wallace, a Pottstown, Pa., native, ranks eighth on Temple's career tackles list with 325 in 34 games.

Wallace's decision was no surprise. The Owls face an uncertain future after being kicked out of the Big East. They will play next year as an independent and an athletics task force is expected to decide the future of the program next month.

Colorado: An accountant who reviewed the University of Colorado's finances as part of a grand jury investigation shouldn't be allowed to testify on behalf of two women suing the school, university lawyers said.

In a court filing Thursday in the lawsuit that sparked the football recruiting scandal at the school, the university argued that certified auditor and fraud examiner Daniel Predovich's testimony would be irrelevant to the women's claims and that his findings in the grand jury investigation are protected by court order.

The lawsuit filed by former CU student Lisa Simpson claims she was raped by football players or recruits during a drunken off-campus party in December 2001. She claims the university fostered an atmosphere that led to the alleged assault by using sex to recruit athletes.

Another woman has joined Simpson's lawsuit. The trial is set for May 31.

Lisa Simon, spokeswoman for Simpson's legal team, declined comment, saying she hadn't seen the court document.

After-hours phone calls to the other woman's attorney and to university officials were not immediately returned.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press