Tyler Matakevich, the tackling machine and team leader for Temple's 10-3 football team, was named Monday the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented to the nation's best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America and Charlotte Touchdown Club.
It's yet another honor for Matakevich, who was recently named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, the product of Stratford, Conn., was also named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Connecticut Player of the Year.
This season, the 6-foot-1, 232-pound Matakevich is the only Football Bowl Subdivision player to lead his team in tackles in each game. He has 126 tackles and became just the seventh player in FBS history to record 100 or more tackles in four seasons. Matakevich is also the active NCAA leader with 481 career tackles.
This season he also added five interceptions, 4.5 sacks, and 15.0 tackles for loss.
More impressively, Temple has tied a single-season school record for wins and can break the mark with a victory over Toledo in the Dec. 22 Boca Raton Bowl.
Matakevich set the defensive tone from the beginning with three sacks and seven tackles in Temple's opening 27-10 win over Penn State. Five times this season he has recorded 11 or more tackles in a game.
The other finalists for the Nagurski Trophy were Duke safety Jeremy Cash, Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib, and Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland.
The Nagurski Trophy was first awarded in 1993 and is named after legendary football star Bronko Nagurski, who played for the University of Minnesota, and would later lead the Chicago Bears to three NFL titles.