Photo gallery: 2017 Bronko Nagurski Award Reply

Scenes from the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Award presentation banquet and an earlier Nagurski High School Leadership Forum on Dec. 5 in Charlotte, N.C.

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NC State’s Chubb wins 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Reply

North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb, 2017 winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Photo by Michael Strauss.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FWAA) – North Carolina State end Bradley Chubb was named the recipient of the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Monday night before a sold-out banquet crowd of 1,200 people at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Chubb, a 6-4, 275-pound senior from Marietta, Ga., accepted the award given to the best defensive player in college football before a large contingent of Wolfpack supporters, including his head coach Dave Doeren.

“This is what happens if you just keep working,” Doeren said of Chubb’s record-setting career. “This wasn’t a guy who was a five-star (recruit). This is a guy who made himself into one.”

Chubb is the first Wolfpack player to receive the Football Writers Association of America’s National Defensive Player of the Year Award, which has been selected by the organization since 1993. He’s the fourth Atlantic Coast Conference player to win the award in the last eight seasons, including Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly (2011), now a member of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

Chubb, second in the FBS in tackles for loss and eighth in sacks this season, claimed the award at the Charlotte Touchdown Club banquet sponsored by ACN. He was chosen over four other finalists: Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell, Houston tackle Ed Oliver and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.

“He’s the real deal, man,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said during the 2017 season. “He’s long. He’s fast. He’s explosive. He plays with excellent technique. He’s a very knowledgeable, instinctive player. This guy has all the little nuances down. He understands what you are trying to do offensively, so that allows him to anticipate. When you have that type of speed and skill and strength, plus knowledge, you are a tough guy to handle.”

Chubb, who is the ACC’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, set North Carolina State career records for tackles for loss (60) and sacks (26). Those marks are tied for fourth and tied for 18th, respectively, in ACC history.

“He’s a dynamic player,” Boston College head coach Steve Addazio said. “He’s as good as there is in America without any doubt.”

A three-time ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week (vs. Florida State, Syracuse and Boston College), Chubb played 87 percent of the snaps against ACC competition this season.

“He’s a very strong, very twitchy, explosive player that makes plays throughout the game and does a lot, whether he’s rushing the passer or he’s squeezing the run or he’s dropping into coverage,” North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora said before the Wolfpack beat his team. “You’ve always got to be aware of where he is. He’s going to make plays and you’ve got to do everything that you can in your scheme to make sure that he doesn’t single-handedly beat you.”

In addition to the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet Monday night celebrated the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway.

Notre Dame’s Ross Browner, a member of the FWAA’s 1976 and ‘77 All-America teams, winner of the 1976 Outland Trophy and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, was this year’s Legends Award recipient.

Bound for the College Football Playoff, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was the keynote speaker at the banquet.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA joined with the CTC and named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991, the club has raised more than $2,000,000 to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including phone service, high-speed internet, wireless, television, security and automation, computer support, payment processing and natural gas and electricity. ACN operates in 25 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

Florida East Coast Railway
FECR is a regional freight railroad that extends along a 351-mile corridor between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami, Fla., with exclusive rail access to the Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and the Port of Miami. For more information, visit fecrwy.com.

Electrolux
Electrolux is a global leader in appliances for household and professional use, selling more than 50 million products to customers in more than 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cookers and air-conditioners sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, Frigidaire, Kelvinator, AEG, and Eureka. In 2012, Electrolux had sales of $17 billion ($5.1 billion in North America) and 58,000 employees. The Electrolux North American headquarters is located at 10200 David Taylor Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262 in the University Research Park. For more information visit http://newsroom.electrolux.com/us/.

Related Link:
All-time Bronko Nagurski Trophy winners, finalists

Ross Browner to receive Bronko Nagurski Legends Award

Bronko Nagurski Legends Award

Bronko Nagurski Legends Award

Charlotte, N.C. February 15, 2017 — The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America and Florida East Coast Railway proudly announces University of Notre Dame great Ross Browner as the recipient of the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.

The award will be presented formally during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet presented by ACN on December 4, 2017.

Ross Browner

Ross Browner

“Being name recipient of the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award is a tremendous honor,” Browner said. “I’m so grateful for all the coaches and teammates who encouraged me along the way. It’s such a thrill to accept an award with past winners such as Bubba Smith, Randy Gradishar, Randy White and others.”

“Congratulations to Ross Browner on being named the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient,” said James R. Hertwig, CEO of Florida East Coast Railway. “Ross’s performance on the field and his dedication to community service make this a well-deserved honor. Florida East Coast Railway takes great pride in our support of the Charlotte Touchdown Club and its mission to promote citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship and leadership.”

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Kirby Smart named keynote speaker for 2017 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet 1

Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Bronko Nagurski Trophy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Charlotte Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, officially announced today Kirby Smart, Head Football Coach at the University of Georgia, as Keynote Speaker for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet scheduled for Monday, December 4th.

“Coach Smart is truly one of college football’s hot young head coaches and we look forward to hearing his take on today’s college football scene at the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet Presentation” said John Rocco Executive Director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

“As a defensive coordinator for many years, I recognize that the Bronko Nagurski Trophy is one of college football’s most prestigious awards and I look forward to recognizing some of college football’s finest defensive players at the Nagurski Banquet on December 4th,” said University of Georgia Head Football Coach Kirby Smart.

On December 6, 2015, when named Georgia’s Head Football Coach Smart said, “It’s an honor and privilege to return home to the University of Georgia and my home state. I’m deeply appreciative of the faith President Morehead, Greg McGarity, and the Athletic Board Executive Committee have demonstrated in asking me to lead one of the truly great college football programs in the country.”

Kirby Smart

Kirby Smart

Smart, who got his start in coaching as a Georgia administrative assistant in 1999, served on the Alabama staff for nine years, with his final seven seasons as defensive coordinator. During his tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide  won three BCS National Championships, one College Football Playoff national title, three Southeastern Conference crowns, six SEC western division titles, and been ranked in the nation’s final top ten rankings eight years in a row.

Smart was recognized as the 2012 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year and the 2009 Broyles Award winner as college football’s top assistant coach. He was also a 2015 finalist for the 2015 Broyles Award. A former standout defensive back and scholar-athlete at Georgia, Smart was one of the nation’s most respected defensive coordinators. Smart coached Alabama’s inside linebackers in 2015 after tutoring the safeties in 2014. He also coached the inside linebackers from 2009-12.

Prior to joining the Alabama staff in 2007, Smart spent the 2006 season as safeties coach with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. He served six years on the collegiate level as the running backs coach at Georgia (2005), defensive backs coach at LSU (2004), graduate assistant coach at Florida State (2002-03), defensive coordinator/linebackers coach (2001) and defensive backs coach (2000) at Valdosta State.

As the running backs coach on Georgia’s 2005 SEC Championship team, Smart’s Bulldogs unit averaged 162.2 rushing yards per game, third in the SEC. He coached Thomas Brown, Danny Ware, and Kregg Lumpkin—all of whom had NFL careers. In 2004 at LSU, he tutored two NFL draft picks: Corey Webster (2nd round, New York Giants) and Travis Daniels (4th round, Miami Dolphins).

As a player, Smart was a four-year letterman at defensive back for Georgia, where he was a first team all-SEC pick as a senior. He finished his career with 13 interceptions, which was fourth in Georgia annals, and led the Bulldogs with six interceptions in 1997 and five in 1998. A four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Smart earned his undergraduate degree in finance from Georgia and his master’s degree from Florida State in 2003.

A native of Bainbridge, Ga., Smart received his BBA degree in Finance from the University of Georgia in 1998 and his M.S. in Physical Education from Florida State in 2003. He is married to the former Mary Beth Lycett of McDonough, Ga., a four-year letter winner on the Georgia women’s basketball team from 2000-2003. The couple are the proud parents of twins Weston and Julia and son Andrew.

About ACN, Inc.

Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including home phone service, high-speed internet, wireless, television, home security and automation, computer support and natural gas and electricity. ACN operates in 24 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

About Florida East Coast Railway

FECR is a regional freight railroad that extends along a 351-mile corridor between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami, Fla., with exclusive rail access to the Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and the Port of Miami. For more information, visit fecrwy.com

About Electrolux

Electrolux is a global leader in appliances for household and professional use, selling more than 50 million products to customers in more than 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cookers and air-conditioners sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, Frigidaire, Kelvinator, AEG, and Eureka. In 2012, Electrolux had sales of $17 billion ($5.1 billion in North America) and 58,000 employees. The Electrolux North American headquarters is located at 10200 David Taylor Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262 in the University Research Park.  For more information visit http://newsroom.electrolux.com/us/.

About The Independence Fund

The Independence Fund is a nonprofit organization that empowers our nation’s severely wounded veterans and the caregivers who support them to take control of their lives. Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a better future. The Independence Fund believes we owe it to our veterans to provide the resources they need to move forward and build a strong foundation toward lasting emotional and physical healing in order to reestablish their independence. To learn more, visit www.independencefund.org.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1990, the club has raised more than $2,000,000 to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics.  For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is www.touchdownclub.com. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, NC.  All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Touchdown Club Scholarship Fund.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL   704-347-2918 or visit www.touchdownclub.com.

Photo gallery: 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy presentation banquet

The 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy was awarded to Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen on Dec. 5 at a banquet organized by the Charlotte Touchdown Club in Charlotte, N.C.

Alabama’s Allen wins 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy

2016 bronko sponsor logosCHARLOTTE, N.C. — Finally, the Alabama Crimson Tide landed a winner in the Bronko Nagurski Trophy balloting: defensive end Jonathan Allen.

The nation’s top-ranked team, attempting to win a second straight national title and fifth in eight years, saw Allen claim the trophy as the best defensive player in college football, as chosen by the Football Writers Association of America.

Alabama has had a Nagurski finalist seven times in the last eight years; in fact, the Crimson Tide had two of the five 2016 Nagurski finalists. The previous six times, a Crimson Tide player didn’t get the nod in Charlotte. But Allen, a 6-3, 291-pound senior from Leesburg, Va., broke that streak after returning for his senior season to improve his draft status.

“I’m honestly speechless right now. I never in a million years thought I would even be up for this award, yet win it,” Allen said. “I’ve got to thank all the guys back at Alabama, God, my parents, my girlfriend, everyone who’s had a part in shaping me and making me who I am. This is just a tremendous award.”

“Few would debate that Alabama has the nation’s best defensive line, and Jonathan Allen is a major reason why Crimson Tide opponents have such a difficult time moving the ball,” said FWAA President Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He is the winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and had to beat out one of his teammates, Reuben Foster, for it.”

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, poses with 2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson.

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen, winner of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, poses with 2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson.

The finalists on hand for the banquet hosted by the Charlotte Touchdown Club were: Allen, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Clemson end Christian Wilkins.

Projected as a high first-round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft, Allen has been nicknamed “Superman” for some of his plays. Allen is a standout on the nation’s best defense, which, until the SEC Championship Game, hadn’t given up a touchdown since Oct. 22 against Texas A&M.

“Jonathan Allen is a fantastic player for us, even a better person and leader,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “He’s had an outstanding year. I think he’s sort of someone that a lot of players should look at who came here weighing probably 250 pounds. We kind of recruited him as an outside linebacker. The guy has developed each and every year into being a better and better and better player. I think sometimes a lot of players lose sight of how football is a developmental game, how they improve, how they can improve their value by continuing to grow and develop as players in college. Jonathan Allen is a great example of that.”

Allen is second on the Crimson Tide’s career sack list with 26.5 and has nine sacks for 72 yards in losses this season. He has 15 quarterback hurries, has broken up two passes, and blocked a kick. He has scored touchdowns on two fumble recoveries – a 75-yard return against Ole Miss and a 30-yard return against Texas A&M.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner was chosen from the five finalists who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selected the Nagurski Trophy finalists and winner.

In addition to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement at the Charlotte Convention Center, the banquet celebrated the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, was honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe was the keynote speaker at the banquet.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN, Inc. Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including Home Phone Service, High Speed Internet, Wireless, Television, Home Security & Automation, Computer Support and Natural Gas and Electricity. ACN operates in 23 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

Florida East Coast Railway FECR is a regional freight railroad that extends along a 351-mile corridor between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami, Fla., with exclusive rail access to the Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and the Port of Miami. For more information, visit fecrwy.com.

Electrolux Electrolux is a global leader in appliances for household and professional use, selling more than 50 million products to customers in more than 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cookers and air-conditioners sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, Frigidaire, Kelvinator, AEG, and Eureka. In 2012, Electrolux had sales of $17 billion ($5.1 billion in North America) and 58,000 employees. The Electrolux North American headquarters is located at 10200 David Taylor Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262 in the University Research Park. For more information visit http://newsroom.electrolux.com/us/.

Duke’s Cutcliffe named keynote speaker for 2016 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet

broko logosCHARLOTTE, N.C. The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America officially announced Wednesday that David Cutcliffe, head football coach at Duke University, will be the keynote speaker for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet presented by ACN scheduled for Monday, December 5th.

“The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is one of college football’s most prestigious awards and I look forward to taking part in recognizing some of college football’s finest players,” said Cutcliffe.

“Over the past few seasons, Coach David Cutcliffe has truly reenergized the Duke Football program and we’re excited to welcome him to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Banquet,” said John Rocco, executive director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Cutcliffe, the 2013 national coach of the year, has earned both ACC and SEC coach of the year honors in a distinguished career that includes the mentoring of Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.

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Former Navy star Chet Moeller named winner of Bronko Nagurski Legends Award 1

The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America and Florida East Coast Railway, proudly announced Tuesday that U.S. Naval Academy great Chet Moeller will be the recipient of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years. The award will be presented formally during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet presented by ACN on December 5th.

Chet Moeller

Chet Moeller

“Being recognized with the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award conjures up memories which will live with me forever. I’m thankful for the coaches who shaped me and the teammates who encouraged me and I’m overwhelmed to be considered in the same class of the past winners such as Bubba Smith, Randy Gradishar, Randy Rhino and others,” Moeller said.

“Congratulations to Chet Moeller on being named the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient,” said James R. Hertwig, CEO of Florida East Coast Railway. “Chet’s performance on the field, in the classroom and in his service to our country in the United States Marine Corp was exceptional and this honor is well deserved. Florida East Coast Railway takes great pride in our support of the Charlotte Touchdown Club and its mission to promote Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship and Leadership.”

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Photo gallery: Bronko Nagurski Trophy presentation

These pictures, from the Dec. 7 banquet for the presentation of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy to Temple senior linebacker Tyler Matakevich, were provided by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and Treasured Events of Charlotte.  Matakevich is the 23rd winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes annually to FWAA’s selection as the best defensive player in college football.

Temple’s Matakevich wins 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy

broko logosCHARLOTTE, N.C. — Temple senior linebacker Tyler Matakevich was named the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner on Monday night, a feat paralleling his team’s rise to its first Top 25 ranking since 1980 and record-tying 10-victory season in which the Owls won the American Athletic Conference’s East Division crown.

The Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club made the announcement at a gala banquet presented by ACN at the Westin Hotel in downtown Charlotte, N.C. Matakevich, the school’s all-time tackle leader, is the first major award winner for Temple (10-3), which is headed to the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl to play Toledo on Dec. 22. 

This year’s banquet marks the 21st anniversary of the event in Charlotte, where Matakevich beat out the other finalists: Duke safety Jeremy Cash, Clemson end Shaq Lawson, Penn State end Carl Nassib and Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland.

The 6-1, 232-pound Matakevich, the first, first-team defensive All-American in Temple history, now has collected the title as the best defensive player in college football. Adding to the story, Temple was the only Football Bowl Subdivision school to recruit him out of Stratford, Conn.

“They (most recruiters) told me I was too small, too slow and I could not play at this level,” Matakevich said. “It was everybody.”

But current Temple head coach Matt Rhule, who was an assistant on the staff at the time, looked at him differently. More…