Cody O'Connell and Hercules Mata'afa continue to collection All-American nominations
Washington State offensive guard Cody O’Connell and defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa have been named to the nation’s oldest All-American team, the Walter Camp All-America First Team, the Walter Camp Foundation announced Thursday.
The 2017 Walter Camp All-America team will be honored at the organization’s 51st annual national awards banquet on Jan. 13 at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
Earlier Thursday, O’Connell was also named to The Athletic’s All-American first team, and the Associated Press’ All-Pac-12 first team, while Mata’afa was named the Associated Press’ Defensive Player of the Year, and earned a first team All-American nod from SI.com, and a second team All-American nod from The Athletic.
O’Connell, a unanimous All-American as a junior in 2016, is the first Cougar since kicker Jason Hanson (1989, 1991) to earn All-America first-team honors in multiple seasons. O’Connell is also the first Cougar since running back Rueben Mayes (1984, 1985) to earn first-team honors in consecutive seasons. The 6-foot-9, 368-pound Wenatchee, Wash. native is the first Cougar offensive lineman in program history to earn first-team All-America honors in multiple seasons. O’Connell started every game at left guard for WSU this season, and was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team earlier this week.
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Mata’afa is the first Cougar defensive lineman to earn All-American honors since Rien Long in 2002. He’s also the first WSU defensive player to earn All-American honors since Deone Bucannon in 2013. The redshirt-junior from Lahaina, Hawaii was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team earlier this week after leading the conference with 21.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks. Mata’afa also recorded 43 tackles with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Mata’afa started all 12 games at defensive tackle for WSU this season, 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.