Mata’afa, O’Connell Named Walter Camp All-Americans
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Washington State defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa and offensive lineman Cody O’Connell were both named to the Walter Camp All-America First Team, the Walter Camp Foundation announced Thursday. The 128 th edition of the Walter Camp All-America Team is the nation’s oldest All-America Team.
Earlier Thursday, Mata’afa was also named to the All-America First Team by SI.com and both players were named to the All-American First Team by TheAthletic.com. Mata’afa is also a finalist for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.
Mata’afa 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 after leading the Pac-12 with 21.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks, and also 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.
O’Connell, a unanimous All-American last season, is the first Cougar to earn All-America first-team honors in multiple seasons since kicker Jason Hanson (1989, 1991) and is the first player to earn first-team honors in consecutive seasons since running back Rueben Mayes (1984, 1985). The Wenatchee, Wash. native is the first Cougar offensive lineman in program history to earn first-team All-America honors in multiple seasons. O’Connell 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 2017 Walter Camp All-America team will be honored at the organization’s 51st annual national awards banquet, presented by David McDermott Lexus of New Haven, on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven, Conn.