PHILADELPHIA (12/11/13) – As the college football season ends, so begins the college football awards season. The American Athletic Conference announced its players and coach of the year and all-conference team this morning. Included on the first-team was Temple's sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich
, the only Owl to be recognized in the conference's inaugural list.
Click here for full list of American Athletic Conference awards
Matakevich led the nation in solo tackles with 99 and led the conference in total tackles with 137. The 137 stops rank seventh on Temple's single-season list and trailed only San Jose State's senior linebacker, Keith Smith (159 total, 78 solos), in the 2013 national rankings. Matakevich also led Temple in tackles for loss (11.5), quarterback hurries (2), forced fumbles (3), and fumble recoveries (2), and added his first career sack.
Matakevich was also recognized by College Football News on its 2013 All-Sophomore squad with first-team honors.
"It's nice to know that the hard work was recognized," said Matakevich when first informed of the news. "Every day [Head] Coach [Matt] Rhule and [linebackers] Coach [Mike] Siravo challenged me to be better; to work harder. They taught me how to be a leader; to get everyone playing at a higher level. You saw that pay off as our defense got better late in the season. I'm excited about this honor but I'm more excited about the future of this team."
College Football News also announced its 2013 All-Freshman Team where two Temple players received honorable mention – quarterback P.J. Walker
and running back Zaire Williams
. Walker, whose 2,084 passing yards tied Henry Burris for 4th
best single-season mark in school history and set the school's mark for freshmen with 20 touchdown passes, faced stiff competition with Florida State's Jameis Winston earning first team honors and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg garnering second team. Williams, whose 533 rushing yards trailed only Bernard Pierce (1,361) and Paul Palmer (628) among Temple freshmen, finished behind Arkansas' Alex Collins, Baylor's Shock Linwood, Toledo's Kareem Hunt, and Oregon's Thomas Tyner.
"I'm proud of all of my players and it doesn't surprise me that our young guys are opening eyes and receiving recognition," said Temple head coach Matt Rhule
. "Tyler came off an outstanding freshman year and was asked to improve on it and he did. P.J. and Zaire came in right away and earned the chance to play and showcase their talents. If P.J. and Zaire show the same degree of improvement that Tyler did in his second year, then 2014 is going to be a good year for Temple football. We have a sound foundation from which to build upon."