Our series counting down the Big East's top 25 players from 2012 continues today with a conference newcomer:
No. 24, Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple
Making the case: The Big East freshman of the year kicked off his college career with a bang, notching a team-best 101 tackles for Temple (no one else came within 25) while adding three tackles for loss, three pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. Matakevich didn't start until the fourth game of the season, either, but he made his presence felt in those contests, notching double-digit tackles in seven of them. The Stratford, Conn., native was one of two Big East players named to the FWAA freshman All-America team (Cincinnati offensive tackle Parker Ehinger was the other), and he was the Owls' first freshman to notch a 100-tackle season. Matakevich was also named the ECAC defensive rookie of the year. Not bad for a player who, when coming out of high school a year earlier, did not receive a ranking from ESPN Recruiting and received just two stars from both Rivals and Scout.
Preseason ranking: NR
No. 25 Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt