- The American Athletic Conference, in celebration of their fifth anniversary, released their Fifth Anniversary Team for football. Temple had five players represented on the team: OL Dion Dawkins
, OL Kyle Friend
, DL Matt Ioannidis
, LB Tyler Matakevich
, and DL Haason Reddick
. The team of 30 players was selected based on voting by the conference's 12 football schools, local and national media members, and a fan ballot.
was a four-year starter for Temple and anchored the left tackle position. He played in 44 career games, starting 41, including 39 at left tackle from 2014-16. He was a two-time all-conference selection. Dawkins was selected by Buffalo in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
"Being voted onto the Fifth Anniversary team means the world to me," said Dawkins. "For a little kid from Rahway, N.J., who didn't even expect to go to a D1 college, this award means you should never let anyone put limits on you. I will forever keep stacking days."
Friend was a mainstay on Temple's offensive line, playing in 45 games over his four seasons with the Owls. He was named to the Rimington Award Watch List twice, received all-conference all-academic honors three straight years, and received First-Team All-AAC honors in 2015. Friend was a four-time letterwinner and became the first three-time captain in program history along with Matakevich in 2015. Friend went undrafted in 2016, but has since signed for three NFL teams: the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and now, the Carolina Panthers.
"What an honor to be named to the American Athletic Conference's Fifth Anniversary team," said Friend. "I was fortunate to play with some outstanding teammates and coaches who helped me get better each day. The level of play got better as the AAC was built. It certainly helped me prepare for the next level."
Ioannidis was a team leader on the defensive side, recording 118 career tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries. In 2015, Ioannidis received First-Team All-AAC and Third-Team All-American honors. He also received Second-Team All-AAC honors in 2014. Ioannidis started every game his last two seasons with Temple and was a four-year letterwinner. The Washington Redskins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and he has been a member on the active roster since.
"I'd first like to thank God for the gift to play football. It wouldn't have been possible without him," said Ioannidis. "I'd like to thank Coach Rhule and the entire defensive staff, especially Coach Robinson, for helping me develop into the player I am today. Thank you to my Mother who supported me through my college career at every turn. A special thanks to the guys I took the field with every Saturday who were pivotal to our success and last but not least the AAC and all the people who voted to select me with such an incredible honor that I am very proud of. Playing in this conference helped prepare me for the next step in my career and I'll always be grateful for it."
Matakevich was the most decorated player in Temple football history. He broke the school record for most career tackles with 493, and currently is ranked third in NCAA history in total tackles. In 2015, Matakevich was the first defensive player in Temple history to earn All-America honors and was a consensus All-American. He also won the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in college football, the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, and four straight first-team all-conference selections. Matakevich was selected in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and has become an integral part of the new "Steel Curtain".
"It's an honor to be named to the AAC's 5th Anniversary team," said Matakevich. "I am so proud and humbled to be recognized alongside three of my fellow Temple Owls. Also, honored to be an alumnus of the American Athletic Conference, which often doesn't get the credit it deserves for producing quality teams from top to bottom and great competition year after year. Thank you to everyone who voted!"
Reddick was an important part of Temple's 2016 AAC Championship winning team, recording 65 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception that season. He earned First-Team All-AAC honors and Fourth-Team All-American honors in 2016. Reddick was a three-time letterwinner for the Owls, recording 147 total tackles and 18 sacks while at Temple. He was selected 14th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, and is now going into his second season with the team.
"It is an honor to be chosen as one of the players for the AAC five-year team," said Reddick. "I worked extremely hard to become the best college football player that I could be, and being selected to this team shows that my hard work has been acknowledged. I want to say thank you to everyone who selected me for this honor but most importantly thank you to everyone who helped me achieve my goals during my college career. I am truly blessed and what an amazing honor this is!"