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Temple's Tyler Matakevich is SB Nation's Defensive Player of the Year

Tyler Matakevich, the hard-hitting linebacker for the Temple Owls, crashed a roster of P5 superstars to earn a place among SBNation's college football elite.

Tyler Matakevich was a terrifying tackle monster during a 4-year career in Temple
Tyler Matakevich was a terrifying tackle monster during a 4-year career in Temple
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Self-billed as the "only 2015 All-America team that was voted on after the season actually ended," SB Nation posted its 2015 All-America team. It's pretty much what you'd expect, a list of all-stars from the ranks of the Power Five conferences. Except for one notable exception: Defensive Player of the Year, Tyler Matakevich of the Temple Owls.

Temple went from No. 115 in Defensive S&P+ in 2013 to No. 18 in 2015, which is not only a ludicrous turnaround but also far beyond where the recently struggling mid-major should be expected to rank.The single biggest reason is this former two-star. Along the way to Temple's best season since the 1970s, he ranked No. 3 in the country in tackles against FBS opponents, led the Owls in tackles for loss and led all linebackers in interceptions, with five.

Matakevich, the leading tackler in Temple history, is a two-time national college defensive player of the year award winner and was the only non-Power Five player named to the American Football Coaches Association All-America Team. CBS Sports projects Matakevich to be taken in the third round of this year's NFL draft.

But Matakevich wasn't the only Underdog mentioned by SB Nation. A total of 21 Group of Five stars were listed as receiving All-America votes. Because we love you, we list them here for your review.

The Sun Belt

Larry Rose III, RB, New Mexico State

Matt Breida, RB, Georgia Southern

Austin Rehkow, K, Idaho

Conference USA

Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky

The American Athletic Conference

Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy

Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple

Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane

Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple

Elandon Roberts, LB, Houston

Jamar Summers, CB, UConn

Jake Elliott, K, Memphis

The Mountain West

Billy Freeman, TE, San Jose State

Darian Thompson, S, Boise State

Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State

Michael Carrizosa, P, San Diego State

Hayden Hunt, P, Colorado State


Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green

Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green

Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan

Storm Norton, OT, Toledo

Shawun Lurry, CB, Northern Illinois

The Underdog Takeaways

Where you at, CUSA? Brandon Doughty had a spectacular year under center at WKU, throwing for a career high 5,055 yards and a whopping 48 TDs. What about Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech? The bruising runner was the all-time leader for TDs from scrimmage (for a couple days, at least).

Sun Belt comes up Roses. Breida is a spectacular running back from Georgia Southern, but sophomore Larry Rose III is the entire offense for New Mexico State, racking up a Sun Belt leading 1,651 rushing yards. Who was snubbed? Georgia State's Nick Arbuckle was 7th in the nation for passing yards (4,368), and Arkansas State's Ja'Von Rolland-Jones racked up nine sacks to lead the Sun Belt.

It was a nice year for the AAC. Not only did the AAC see several programs break onto Top 25 polls in 2015, Houston dropped Florida State in the Peach Bowl. But how did Paxton Lynch, the soon-to-be pro from Memphis not make this cut? Or Keyarris Garrett, the AAC receiving yards leader (1,588) out of Tulsa?