Temple sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich has been selected to the American Athletic Conference defensive first team, it was announced Wednesday.
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles and Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith, who led their teams to 11-1 records in the regular season, have been selected conference offensive and defensive players of the year.
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," Matakevich said when informed of the news. "I'm excited about this honor but I'm more excited about the future of this team."
Also earning first-team honors were Rutgers running back Paul James (Glassboro) and tight end Tyler Kroft (Downingtown).
In addition, UCF coach George O'Leary was chosen as coach of the year, and Houston return specialist Demarcus Ayers and Memphis punter Tom Hornsey were special teams players of the year. Houston quarterback John O'Korn was chosen as rookie of the year.
O'Leary led the Knights to the outright American title and a berth in the New Year's Day Fiesta Bowl.