Football fans of Temple can give their fingernails a rest. From standout linebacker Tyler Matakevich‘s twitter feed in December, it looked like he would return for his senior season with the Owls in 2015.
Now that the deadline for declaring is about to pass, it’s all but official.
That’s no small commitment because, according to most mock drafts, Matakevich would be one of the top 10 linebackers selected in the NFL Draft if he decided to come out. Now that Matakevich has decided to do something for the Owls, Temple must decide to do something for him in promoting him for the Bednarik Award that goes to the nation’s best defender and Butkus Award that goes to the nation’s best linebacker.
I think he has a decent chance of winning the Butkus Award and that would be a big feather in the cap of Temple football. He doesn’t need to do anything superhuman to win it, either. Just keep doing what he’s been doing and help the Owls win two or more additional games in 2015 than they did in 2014. With Notre Dame and Penn State on the schedule and both figure to be highly rated TV games, his name is fast-tracked to the head of the LB class.
Temple did the same in 1986 for running back Paul Palmer, when the school came up with a clever comic book idea that promoted him for the Heisman Trophy. He did not win it, coming as close as possible — losing to Miami’s Vinny Testaverde and ahead of such luminaries as Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
Matakevich is driven by a desire to get Temple to a bowl and sitting and watching others play seems to fuel the flames for next season.
Matakevich is one of the few players to earn all-conference honors in two conferences, the now-defunct Big East and current successor AAC. He also currently is the NCAA’s leading active leaders in tackles among all five divisions (FBS, FCS, and Divisions I through III). For his entire time at Temple, he has given the Owls his best.
Promoting him heavily for the Bednarik and Butkus is the least the Owls can do for him now.