Mata’afa and O’Connell named AP All-Americans - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Mata’afa and O’Connell named AP All-Americans

Photo: WSU Athletics Photo: WSU Athletics

By Washington State Athletics

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa and offensive lineman Cody O'Connell each picked up additional All-America honors Monday. Mata'afa was named to the Associated Press All-America First Team and O'Connell was placed on the second team while Mata'afa was also named to the All-America Second Team by the Football Writers Association of America.

Mata'afa, already named to the All-America First Team by SI.com and the Walter Camp Foundation, is the first Cougar defensive player to earn All-America honors since Deone Bucannon in 2013 and is the first-team All-America defensive lineman since Rien Long in 2002. The redshirt-junior from Lahaina, Hawaii was named to the All-Pac-12 Conference First Team and AP Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Pac-12 with 21.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks, and recorded 43 tackles with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Mata'afa started all 12 games, recorded multiple tackles-for-loss eight times and earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following the win at Utah after making eight tackles, five for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Mata'afa is also a finalist for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.

O'Connell, a unanimous All-American last season and was also named to the All-America First Team by the Walter Camp Foundation, is the first Cougar to earn All-America first-team honors in multiple seasons since kicker Jason Hanson (1989, 1991). O'Connell is the first Cougar to earn first-team honors in consecutive seasons since running back Rueben Mayes (1984, 1985) and is the first offensive lineman in program history to earn first-team All-America honors in multiple seasons. The Wenatchee, Wash. native was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team after starting all 12 games at left guard for the nation's second-rated passing offense.

The Sporting News will release its All-America Team Tuesday and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) will announced its All-America Team Wednesday.
 

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