Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich won the Chuck Bednarik Award for the country’s defensive player of the year at the The Home Depot College Football Awards ceremony held on Thursday night. He is the first player from a Group-of-5 school to win the award and the first player from Temple to claim the honor.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) December 11, 2015
“I don’t think anyone would think someone representing Temple would be up here,” Matakevich said on ESPN during the show.
His journey from virtual unknown to the country’s best defensive player has been one of the better stories in college football. He beat out Penn State’s Carl Nassib and Alabama’s Reggie Ragland to win the Chuck Bednarik Award.
The 6’1”, 232-pound senior linebacker from Stratford, Connecticut, has been a disruptive force for opposing AAC offense’s all season long. Matakevich was the he driving force in Temple making it to the AAC Championship game against Houston. For the year, Matakevich has racked up 126 tackles, 4.5 sacks, five interceptions and five pass deflections.
Matakevich has been a steady constant in all four years with the Owls, as this was his fourth-straight season of accumulating 100-plus tackles.
His Temple Owls are set to play in the Boca Raton Bowl against Toledo on December 22.