Former St. Joseph linebacker Tyler Matakevich wins Bednarik Award as nation’s best defensive player

Temple linebacker and Stratford native Tyler Matakevich was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday. (AP Photo)

ATLANTA (AP) — Stratford native Tyler Matakevich has won the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s defensive player of the year.

Matakevich, a linebacker, is the first Temple player to win the award. He played high school football at St. Joseph in Trumbull. The award was presented on Thursday night at the College Football Hall of Fame.

It was the second major award for Matakevich. On Monday, he won the Bronko Nagurski Award, also given to the nation’s top defensive player.

The 6-foot-1, 232-pound Matakevich had 126 tackles this season, including 15 for loss, along with five interceptions, 4.5 sacks and five pass breakups.

The other finalists were Penn State’s Carl Nassib and Alabama’s Reggie Ragland.

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright won the 2014 award. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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