Temple's Tyler Matakevich keeps pulling in honors. On Wednesday, the senior linebacker was named the American Athletic Conference's defensive player of the year. The senior linebacker has 118 tackles, 141/2 tackles for loss, 41/2 sacks and five interceptions for the 10-2 Owls.
Matakevich has been the leader of a Temple team that is first in the AAC in scoring defense and 16th nationally, allowing 18.8 points per game.
"It's quite an honor," Matakevich said in a statement released by the school. "I said it before and it's no different now. I'm able to make plays because my coaches put me in the right position and my teammates take on blockers to free me up.
"I'm prouder that Temple had more all-conference selections than any single award I have received."
Ten Owls players were named to the first or second teams or honorable mention in voting by the AAC's 12 head coaches.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds was named AAC offensive player of the year. Memphis kicker Jake Elliott is the special teams player of the year and Central Florida freshman receiver Tre-Quan Smith is rookie of the year. Houston's Tom Herman and Navy's Ken Niumatalolo were named AAC coaches of the year.
Matakevich is one of seven Temple players to earn first-team all-AAC honors. The other defensive first-teamers are senior tackle Matt Ioannidis, senior end Nate D. Smith, and senior safety Alex Wells.
The three first-team offensive players are senior center Kyle Friend, junior running back Jahad Thomas and senior guard Eric Lofton.
Junior offensive tackle Dion Dawkins and sophomore cornerback Sean Chandler were second-team choices. Junior defensive lineman Haason Reddick earned honorable mention.
Matakevich was named one of four finalists for the Lott Impact Trophy, given to the defensive player whose personal character is equal to his athletic performance. The other finalists are Duke safety Jeremy Cash, Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib (a Malvern Prep graduate) and Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry.
Matakevich also is one of three finalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award presented by the Maxwell Club to the college defensive player of the year.