While last season was considered the year of the freshman quarterback, Temple Owls linebacker Tyler Matakevich was just as impressive in his freshman season on the defensive side of the ball. After quickly acclimating to the college game and breakout out as a leader for the Owls in 2012, Matakevich is poised to step up as one of the elite linebackers in the Big East during his encore season.
A year ago, Matakevich broke out and led the Owls with 101 tackles, including three tackles for loss, three pass break ups and a forced fumble. He quickly became the go-to guy for a young Temple D and will be counted on even more in 2013 if the Owls hope to move up the Big East standings next fall.
In his sophomore season, Matakevich will have to expand on his game to become a bigger disruption of pposing offenses. Attacking offense downhill to crate negative plays for the offense either with tackles for loss or sacks. He could also start to be a playmaker in pass coverage and create turnovers with interceptions and fumbles.
Temple will be leaning on Matakevich to lead a very young core of defensive starters. Nate D. Smith was another freshman linebacker who enjoyed a strong season in 2012, finishing second on the team with 75 tackles. Together, they will be one of the strongest young cores for any defense in the Big East for the next several years.
There’s a long way to go for Temple to turn things around and become a contender in the Big East. If they have any hope of getting there, it will be Tyler Matakevich carrying them there.