YUMA, Ariz. – A holy terror on defense. A wrecking ball. Someone that offense has to plan for on every snap. All of these descriptions accurately encompass Arizona Western College middle linebacker Patrick Macon’s talent on the football field. Thanks to his affinity for wrecking game plans, he was named the 2016 Spalding ® NJCAA Football Defensive Player of the Year.
“Patrick really deserved this and earned it,” said Arizona Western College head coach Tom Minnick. “He is not only great football player, but he is also a great kid and a great student-athlete.”
Any ball carriers had to be aware of his presence, as he led the nation with nine forced fumbles (no other player in the country had more than five). Macon made a habit of living in the backfield and led the nation with 27.5 tackles for loss. He added in nine sacks, an interception, two fumble recoveries and seven pass breakups during the season.
The 6’3, 225-pound sophomore led a Matador defense that stifled opponents all season. The Mats only allowed 166.5 yards per game (first in the nation) and 9.4 points per game (second in the nation).
Picking Macon’s best game is a toss-up, but he set a season high with 18 tackles in a 38-3 beatdown of Eastern Arizona College. He also had one sack, 3.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in the win. In a 59-12 whitewashing of Phoenix, he had an impressive 13 solo tackles (16 total tackles) while racking up five tackles for loss, two more forced fumbles and a sack.
Last week, Macon was named an NJCAA First Team All-American, and he was the AWC Defensive MVP in the NJCAA National Championship Game at the El Toro Bowl. He was also named a Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Western States Football League, and he was named to both the All-WSFL and All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference First Teams. He was named the WSFL Defensive Player of the Week four times (including three weeks straight in the middle of the season).
Macon also excelled in the classroom, and he was awarded the NJCAA’s Exemplary Academic Achievement Award after his freshman season by posting a 3.77 GPA.
Macon is the first Matador defensive player under Coach Minnick to be named the NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year. Macon has signed with Oklahoma State University to continue his playing career next season as one of 13 mid-year transfers for Arizona Western.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.