Mataafa named AP’s Pac-12 Defensive POY

Hercules Mataafa (center), led the Pac-12 with 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks this season for Washington State. AP file photo

The Maui News

The postseason accolades continue to pour in for Washington State junior defensive lineman Hercules Mataafa.

The Lahainaluna High School graduate was named The Associated Press’ All-Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, earning first-team honors at both defensive tackle and defensive end, and was also named to the Walter Camp and Sports Illustrated All-America first teams.

Mataafa, a 6-foot-2, 252-pound junior, has 43 total tackles, 30 solo, this season. He led the Pac-12 with 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

On Tuesday, Mataafa was named by the conference to the Pac-12 first-team defense, but lost out to Washington lineman Vita Vea for Defensive Player of the Year. That award is selected by the conference’s coaches. The AP awards are chosen by members of the media who cover Pac-12 teams.

Washington State, ranked No. 21 by the AP, will face No. 16 Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Diego.

Also on Thursday, most of college football’s major awards were given out at a ceremony in New York. Heisman Trophy frontrunner Baker Mayfield took home the most hardware, winning the Walter Camp National Player of the Year award, the Maxwell Award, given to the best all-around player, and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.

College Football Awards Show

Thursday • At New York

Walter Camp National Player of the Year–Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma.

Maxwell Award (best all-around player)–Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma.

Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award–Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma.

Doak Walker Award (outstanding running back)–Bryce Love, Stanford.

Fred Biletnikoff Award (outstanding receiver)–James Washington, Oklahoma State.

Chuck Bedarnik Trophy (best defensive player)–Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama.

Outland Trophy (outstanding collegiate interior lineman)–Ed Oliver, Houston.

Dick Butkus Award (best linebacker)–Roquan Smith, Georgia.

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)–Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama.

Lou Groza Award (outstanding place-kicker)–Matt Gay, Utah.

Ray Guy Award (best punter)–Michael Dickson, Texas.

Holder of the Year Award–Connor McGinnis, Oklahoma.

Sports Spirit Award–Iowa’s Stead children hospital, football fans and team.

Coach of the Year Award–Scott Frost, UCF.

NCFAA Contribution to College Football Award–Brent Musburger.