The Competition Thins for Tyler

Plays by Tyler Matakevich, video by Scott (OVO) Hartkorn.

Too many times national college football awards are the result of vague criteria like “eye test” and pro potential. Tyler Matakevich has separated himself from two groups, the latest of which was the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation’s best defensive player. He is now in the three finalists there, and  he is the in the Final Five for another. What has set that award, the Bronko Nagurski Award, given by the Charlotte Touchdown Club, apart, and given it additional credibility, is that assigns particular weight to hard numbers like tackles, sacks, tackles for losses and interceptions. It is now down to these five.

Georgia Tech v Clemson

Shaq Lawson

  1. Clemson DE Shaq Lawson

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound junior has 44 tackles in 11 games, 18 for losses with 7.5 sacks and no fumble recoveries and no interceptions. He is the best player on one of the best defenses in the nation, but doesn’t produce in the all-important turnover area.

Illinois v Penn State

Carl Nassib

  1. Carl Nassib, Penn State (DE)

The walk-on from Malvern Prep in the suburbs of Philadelphia has had a superb season for the Nittany Lions. In 10 games, Nassib has 46 tackles, 19.5 for losses, including 15.5 sacks. He also has one interception and returned it for 10 yards and forced six fumbles. He played only the first three snaps on Saturday against Michigan before being removed with an undisclosed injury.

Charleston Southern v Alabama

Reggie Ragland

  1.  Reggie Ragland, Alabama (LB)

In 11 games, the 6-2, 252-pound Ragland has 85 tackles, 6.5 for losses with 2.5 sacks, no interceptions and two forced fumbles. He almost has no impact, though, on the opponent’s passing game as he has no interceptions this season.


Jeremy Cash

  1. Jeremy Cash, Duke (SS)

The 6-2, 210-pound is projected as a strong safety on the next level, but has played both strong and free safety for the Blue Devils. This year, in 11 games, he has 85 tackles, 18 for losses with 2.5 sacks. After recording two interceptions a year ago, he has none this season.


Tyler Matakevich

  1. Tyler Matakevich, Temple (LB)

No one seems to be nearly as qualified for the Nagurski hardware as does the 6-1, 232-pound Matakevich, who is only the sixth player in FBS history to record fourth-straight 100-tackle seasons. He is also the only player in college football this season to lead his team in tackles in every game. He has 107 tackles, 13 for losses, four sacks and five interceptions.

Tomorrow: On to UConn


8 thoughts on “The Competition Thins for Tyler

  1. nice piece Mike, this kid deserves it. He does two things at the pro level better than those other guys, he gets off blocks and trusts his superb instincts to find the football. he has the uncanny ability to angle his body in a way that precludes the offensive linemen from getting good shots, this allows him to get off blocks and find the football better than anyone in college football today…, this is where not being in the P5 hurts

  2. I think Tyler is a lock for the Chuck Bednarik award. The Maxwell Club is a Philadelphia institution. Steve Joachim won the Maxwell award when he was a Temple senior, and with the revitalization of Temple football, I don’t think they would miss the opportunity to honor someone like Tyler who has led the Temple team to new heights.

    • I think he SHOULD be a lock for the Bednarik award. Maybe it’s because I’m a cynic, but I fear he’ll get passed over for a P5 player. Why? Because P5.

      • Bednarik is given by the Maxwell, which is a Philadelphia club headed by Ron Jaworski and which gave Steve Joachim the national POY in 1974. I’m only worried about Nassib and Tyler splitting the Philly vote and allowing Ragland to get in but I hope Jaws steers them the right way.

  3. UCONN will be a tough game, their defense is as good or better than the Temple D. They rank 2nd in the AAC in scoring D, Temple is 3rd. They rank 3rd in Total D, Temple is 1st in the AAC in total D with less than 5 yards per game separating the two units

    Statistically overall, Navy has the best defense in the conference and they rank first in scoring defense….,

    the Temple ranks 9th in the conference in total offense, UConn is 10th…,

    looks like a low scoring game on Saturday..,

    would like to see the offense get in the top half of the conference next year with more explosive plays

    • A lot of that is because Ward was out. I respect UConn, but they don’t have the offensive weapons we do. If Jahad is banged up, I know Hood and Jager can have big games. Plus, P.J. and Robby and Ventell. Love the use of our SEC tight end last week. We have a lot of options to loosen that defense up. Last year, we played like idiots (offensively) and still dropped 36 points on them. Seven due to Tavon’s pick 6.

      • This game will hinge on Temple turnovers, minimize them and Temple wins easily, that’s why the line is Temple -12. I thought Temple played a little tight at the beginning of the Memphis game. Owls will be motivated since there is a lot on the line. Uconns offense is built to play power football which plays to our strength, think ND, Penn State. If the lads play loose, this will be a comfortable win.

  4. I hope to see Tyler hound the Huskies for three quarters, and then watch Nick Sharga dog down the W. Unfortunately the Owls rarely get their younger players on the field. Happy Thanksgiving. Owls fans have much to be thankful for. My Christmas wish list has one item so far – to see Kyle Friend play again in a Temple non-uniform.

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