A Muted Celebration

Coach Collins helps Donald Hunt out with tape recorder placement.

Celebrations are supposed to big and loud things, like weddings, where you might hear the beat of the Electric Slide or the Funky Chicken.

Although work precluded my attendance, I cannot believe the “recruiting celebration” the Temple Owls held to commemorate the 2017 Signing Day Class was funky or electric. Muted would be the best word to describe it and, if there was a musical backdrop, and there was not, the song “Memories” by Barbra Streisand might have been more appropriate.

The good news about 2/1/17
is that the nuclear fallout
will not cause sickness for a
good three or four years
down the line. The bad news,
though, is to expect a lot
of vomiting and hair falling
out watching what could very
well be mediocre football
by then. Maybe Collins will
be around to see it;
maybe he won’t

While new head coach Geoff Collins was enthusiastic about the haul, the numbers suggested that this class did not meet up to recent Temple standards. Collins’ recruiting class was ranked 111th by 247.com, behind powerhouses Ohio and Tulane. In fact, it was the lowest ranking we could find among the Temple transition classes—in other words, the first classes of Al Golden, Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule–by a good bit.

While Collins’ real acumen as a recruiter will be determined next year, not  this one, this was not a good start because Golden, Addazio and Rhule came in under worse circumstances and came out with better classes. Golden, Addazio and Rhule did not have a championship trophy to waggle in front of recruits, only a promise that they would chase one. In addition to that, it is also fair to compare Collins to the other first-year AAC hires:


So Collins deserves some criticism for this meager haul.

Rhule’s first partial recruiting class as head coach, leading into the 2013 season, was 247sports’ 80th-ranked class in the country. It came after a 4-7 season and coach Steve Addazio’s December departure for the same job at Boston College.

Last year, Temple made a splash on signing day by getting a commitment from Prep Charter defensive end Karamo Dioubate, who was rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com. Rivals rated Temple’s 2016 recruiting class No. 60 in the Football Bowl Subdivision while Scout.com and 247sports.com rated it No. 76 and No. 58, respectively.

So there a body of evidence that suggests Collins tripped and fell flat on his face on this race to Signing Day.


This year is the first time since 2013 Temple doesn’t have at least one prospect rated as a four-star recruit.

Some Temple people might say ratings do not mean much, but the top 25 classes usually mirror the top 25 teams in the final AP rankings so they must mean a lot. Rivals rated Temple’s 2017 outside of the Top 100, while Scout rated Temple No. 123 out of 129 FBS teams and 247 sports rated the Owls class No. 111. Three-star prospects Gary Brightwell (Arizona), Raheem Blackshear (Rutgers), Ja’Sir Taylor (Wake Forest), Marvin Beander (Norfolk State) and Rob Saulin (Baylor) all decommitted from Temple over the last month.

Losing recruits to Arizona and Wake Forest is no disgrace; losing one to Norfolk State and being pilfered of two commits by a self-proclaimed Temple fan for life is. I would have hated to see what Matt Rhule had done if he didn’t like Temple.

Collins should not have been expected to bring with him Florida recruits, like Rhule stole Temple recruits for Baylor, but he should have had at least the kind of coaching and player contacts that enabled him to flip a P5 or two Temple’s way. The good news about 2/1/17 is that the nuclear fallout will not cause sickness for a good three or four years down the line. The bad news, though, is to expect a lot of vomiting and hair falling out watching what could very well be mediocre football by then. Maybe Collins will be around to see it; maybe he won’t. You just do not throw away recruiting years if you want to keep the foundation of a program solid.

You can forgive some objective Temple fans for not being in a very celebratory mood yesterday. The ones who see this through Cherry and White colored glasses were on the dance floor. God bless their optimism and I sincerely hope He rewards it.

Saturday: The Curse of Russell Conwell


29 thoughts on “A Muted Celebration

  1. To be fair, I am pretty sure Temple and Marvin mutually reached an agreement to split. While he’s decent, I feel we can land a better RB (like Gary Brightwell). If anything, I was hoping we would hang onto him. Blackshear going to Buttgers is just a dim-wit move, while I’m not gonna yell at Ja’Sir for going to a team that beat us.

    • Rationalization is the last refuge of an undefensable position. Collins class appears to be a dud. Had he recruited these players he could tell the story of how they are diamonds in the rough. However, he was simply trying to hold onto MR’s last class.

      He lost the best verbals and was unable to flip other three star recruits from schools. It’s way too early to make any meaningful judgement on our new guy but his first impression is underwhelming. Next stop Notre Dame. Go get em coach.

  2. i think we should show some respect to the young men who selected Temple for the next 4 years. Its a little disrespectful 2 them when they have not gotten a chance to show u what they can be. I’m not worried about who is not here. these young men wanted too join the Temple family and for that I salute them. They deserve better than this criticism.

    • Criticism not directed at kids but at coach. Nice spin, though

      • Pretty clear from reading this post that this was 100 percent directed at the coaches and zero percent directed at the players and think that is a fair criticism. Even in the first month Golden had to recruit (and he was recruiting off an 0-11 season), he came up with a top 80 class and four more three-star recruits than Collins did. A top 80 class is a bowl class. A class in the 100s is not. Temple was in the low 50s twice under Rhule and Daz. This was a huge step back when a team with an AAC trophy should have capitalized and moved forward.

  3. The reality might be that Coach Collins is a a better coach than recruiter. If thats the case than he is going to need to hire someone that is dynamic enough to do the recruiting for him. To me it always comes down to the position coaches. Yes, you buy into the head coach and the school, but the position coaches are who you live with day in and day out. Temple Football is on the clock for 2018 😉

  4. Jdoman sounds like he’s a member of Pravda where it’s sunny all day and nary a negative word is spoken. As I said yesterday and Mike’s elaborates on today, these coaches mailed it in. Either they didn’t try or they lack the ability to recruit. Either way, the product on the field will suffer.

    • Love the kids in this class, especially the story about Isaacs in yesterday’s DN. HOWEVER (and the word however is capitalized for a reason), you can sign up to 25 guys in class and we fell way short of that, even after giving the Lansdale Catholic OT and the Phillipsburg-Osceoa kicker deserved schollies. If you are not going to bring me three-stars from Florida to fill out the final five (and especially linemen), why, exactly, did I hire you? At least this time last year, Rhule was giving me a kid who was captured on a selfie in the cafeteria with Les Miles and a kid who just got off the phone with Nick Saban at Buffalo Wild Wings in Northeast Philadelphia. I want some of those types of kids next year. Coming off an AAC title, Temple should have had the pull to get a couple of those types this year.

      • I don’t recall anyone on this site ever attacking a kid. At most, there might be a discussion about what a kid should have done or not done during a game but it’s never personal. I hope all these kids play like five stars and are motivated to show those that undervalued them that they erred.

      • Thing is, you fellas are likely going through what we did when Schiano left. IMO the casual CFB fan and typical recruit doesn’t see ‘Temple’ as winning x, y or z; they see ‘Rhule’ as having done so, and when he left the perception is that all of the collateral and goodwill left with him. While I don’t think Rhule is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I think you’ve generally undervalued Rhule in terms of his recruiting and overall presence. You gotta hope that your new Coach is more along the lines of Rhule than say your version of Flood.

        Joe P.

    • Pravda lives. Really, the last criticism of the kids (I like to call the players kids because that’s what Golden, Daz and Rhule called them) on this site after the Wake Forest game when one of our best fans blamed the players for the loss. I pointed out that Foley had a first-round left OT and the Owls, who lived by the run, ran only 15 times in the entire game and 14 were to the right side. That’s the kind of coaching tone-deafness that made Foley a 7-15 FCS head coach at Fordham.

      • Thanks Mike, I had forgotten about that travesty and brought back all the pain and disappointment. LOL. By the way, when it comes to the kids, we’ve said that the coaches have put them in a position to fail. Like running spread with receivers incapable of executing it and using punt returners who can’t break one. That is not a criticism of the kids or their effort but rather one of the coaches. Coaches should not put a player who lacks the physical attributes to excel, in a position he is sure to fail. It’s clearly not the kid’s fault when he does.

  5. Dont forget, Rhule had recruited most of those kids prior to being the head coach. He had already been at Temple recruiting, before leaving for a year. Collins and his staff have very little recent Philly or NE recruiting ties. I like the Collins hire, but I blame this recruiting class on the administration. To win at Temple, I believe you need a Philly guy. Just my opinion.

  6. There was a great article in the Washington Post about the Top 100 CFB recruits 10 years ago. About how many didn’t live up to the hype. I think the article said 1 out 4 transferred to another school which I was really surprised to see. It shed a little light on why Texas, Tennessee et al might have top 10 recruiting classes but that apparent talent pool dries up by the time those kids are seniors. (BTW. Didn’t a TU 4 star RB from 2 years ago already leave? And hasn’t been missed.)

    I admit I’d like to have seen 24 recruits this year (assuming available schloraships) with a few more 3 stars and a 4 star kid in the mix. But hopefully these 18 kids are coached up (something of a developing TU tradition), stay healthy, are of great character, are inspired, and can be ultimately slotted in their best playing position regardless of what position they were originally recruited to play (another TU coaching strength of recent years). And 4 years from now, I hope we’re posting comments about how that first Collins class of only 18 recruits proved everyone wrong by how many of them became such great players. I can excuse Coach Collins of a first year transitional recruiting adjustment that might have kept the recruiting class from being a little more robust. But if he’s as good as some of his predecessors, there will be 8 to 10 very exceptional players from this group in about 3 or 4 years.

    (I assume Coach Collins reads this blog or at least is told to do so in the near future. Assuming that let me say to him: Next year Coach, we expect the 24 recruits, 10 3 star and 1 or 2 4 star recruiting class. OK?!)

    • I know Rhule did read the blog because he told me that he spent much of his year with the New York Giants reading my blog to help him keep up with the Owls. I hope he subsequently took our advice on the fullback and two tight ends, play action and the emphasis on establishing the run to set up the pass. His last two years mirrored what called for in his first two seasons. I wish he would have stayed because I think he jumped at the wrong opportunity. He was perfect for Temple.

    • That’s a good reason for four and five stars not to all go to the same schools. Only 30 or so play regularly meaning that 55 never see the field, Nevertheless, the higher the rating the more likely the kid will be a superstar.

      • .. i looked at the final top 25 this year and just about every team in it (except Western Michigan) had a top 25 recruiting class this year. That’s how it goes pretty much every year. The ratings DO mean something, no matter how hard Collins tried to sugarcoat it yesterday.

  7. Love to see that more crap has hit the Baylor fan. in five years, after the sanctions have made it impossible to win, Matt Rhule will be lucky to get a tight ends coaching job. Schadenfreude describes t perfectly.

    • John
      you miss Matt or you wouldn’t be hating on him, I feel the same way it’s ok
      Collins first test. F Embarrassing so
      I’m hoping to come out of the December 27th depression and this class has made it worse. I miss Matt

      • I agree with you. It’s more disappointment because unlike his predecessors Rhule hid his agenda so well. Up to the minute he signed he was pushing TU and everything Rhule said and done evinced a love not only of TU but also the region. Hell, he bought a shore house last year. Here, I am glad that the Baylor scandal gets worse by the day. In the end changing jobs to make more money may not be so great especially when you already are making a king’s fortune for doing something as meaningless as coaching football.

  8. My favorite courses in B school were case study based. I’d recommend Coach C study AG’s approach to recruiting at TU. His summer camps, targeting a kid before anyone else did, HS coach relatioships etc. at a time when TU was rock bottom resulted in some solid recruiting classes with some high level NFL players. Do others agree Golden was the best TU coach over the more recent years?

    • Great question. Al was not the greatest game day coach, but neither was Rhule. Daz was the worst game day coach, but he surrounded himself with key national championship caliber assistants (Loeffler on offense and Heater on defense). To me, there’s no doubt that Golden would have returned to Temple (he applied for the UConn job after Collins got the Temple job). Do not think he applied to Temple, but had Temple made the overture to him I think there is a good possibility based on the UConn application that he would have taken the job. Had Golden taken the Temple job at the same time Collins did, we would have been looking at a pretty good recruiting haul based on his established contacts here and the fact that many of his players’ moms have told me to my face that they steered their sons away from P5 schools to Golden when Golden visited their house. The guy has natural charm that rubs off on both recruits and their families and his good looks impresses the moms. 🙂 These things are not important to you and me, but get results in the end and we did not see satisfactory results this week.

      • AG was kind of like the Jay Wright of local football. He’s a good looking standup guy with charm. However, while AG was a good recruiter he was loyal to a fault with his assistants, a few of whom weren’t up to snuff for where the team was heading.

        Also, AG was at best an average game day coach. I think this is the area where MR surpassed him in overall performance. Given my choice I’d take MR then AG and never Daz.

  9. Although things aren’t looking all that bright right now. I see D.J.Durkin of Maryland recruited a top #20 group in his 1st full season.The partial 1st season he didn’t do well.Maybe coach Collins can duplicate coach Durkin’s record with a great 1st full season.

    • Not worried about Temple this year or next. Worried about the negative impact this class will have 3-4 years down the line. Collins should have at least recruited as well as the other new AAC coaches did and, by all objective criteria, fell short in that very fair comparison.

  10. Again I say, this class was MR’s recruits was it not? If he was so good, what happened, on the heals of 2 10-win seasons and a conference championship? Collins can be blamed for not filling it out to 24 recruits or going after a couple FL kids, but this was Rhule’s class.

    • Did u notice the class Rhule recruited for Baylor?

    • Rhule recruited Harrison Hand and Rob Saulin for Temple, then took those two to Baylor. Had Collins been able to keep all of Rhule’s recruits, this class would have been satisfactory. Daz was able to keep all of Golden’s recruits and Rhule was able to keep P.J. and Daz’s other recruits. Collins fell short of that standard. Rhule is not to blame with this Temple recruiting class, unless you blame him for stealing Temple kids.

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