When I think of Temple football recruiting the words of Ronald Reagan come to mind:
“Trust, but verify.”
Reagan’s words came during nuclear armaments talks with Mikael Gorbachev when both the United States and the then Soviet Union were casting cautionary glances at one another.
It also helps to apply the same formula to judging Temple recruiting.
Al Golden never asked Temple fans to accept him at his word when he said he came up with a great recruiting class. He cited other sources as well. Golden was proud that both Scout.com and Rivals.com rated three of his five Temple recruiting classes as No. 1 in the MAC but even prouder when he could point out that at least five of his recruits each year were offered—not just getting interest—by Power 5 schools.
In just one month in his first year on the job, Golden—already having solid East Coast recruiting connections from stints at Boston College, Penn State and Virginia—convinced guys like Adrian Robinson to turn down Pitt for Temple and Kee-Ayre Griffin to turn down Boston College for the Owls.
Both of those guys are gone from this earth too soon, but certainly not forgotten to Temple fans. They were part of the core group of kids who stopped a 20-game losing streak and turned around a program many said could not be resuscitated.
That’s brings us to Geoff Collins’ second class of recruits and there are signs that this class is verifiably good. While we gave him a C for gameday coaching, we have to give him an A for recruiting based on the fact that other, even more highly-paid, staffs wanted kids who could have gone anywhere, but chose Temple.
It’s nice to trust him, but nicer that the trust can also be verified.
Think of it this way:
While Collins did not rely on East Coast recruiting connections, he certainly extended the circle of good recruits to areas where he was more comfortable recruiting: Namely, the South.
Getting quarterback Trad Beatty here from Ben Lippen High in South Carolina was a major coup because Beatty had solid offers from Mississippi State and North Carolina State. You don’t win in college football without a big-time quarterback and Beatty has that kind of pedigree. Let’s put it this way: He’s likely closer to Adam DiMichele and P.J. Walker in skill set than he is to Chester Stewart and Vaughn Charlton. Get me to DiMichele and I’m happy.
Running back Kyle Dobbins, from South Jersey, had offers from Rutgers, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Boston College and Virginia Tech.
New York City wide receiver Sean Ryan had offers from places like Purdue, Nebraska, Syracuse and Maryland and defensive end Dante Burke had offers from Maryland and Georgia Tech.
I think the biggest impact player could be defensive end Nick Madourie, a JUCO, who had an offer from Purdue and 15.5 sacks this past season. Nick because he could be an immediate starter opposite Quincy Roche (and ameliorate the losses of rush ends Sharif Finch and Jacob Martin). Khris Banks, the top two-way lineman in New Jersey, could play right away as well.
Dobbins could play right away at running back, providing some needed depth behind Ryquell Armstead and David Hood. (Here’s hoping Jager Gardner—who has the longest run from scrimmage in Temple history—returns to full health. Plus, Tyriek Raynor, a former Arizona commit, could be healthy next year as well.)
Collins worked hard on this recruiting class and deserves an A. That he was able to wrap almost all of it up by the first signing date even with prepping the team for a bowl win is all the more impressive.
We’ll be able to determine the true value of this class five years down the line but, if you want to beat Power 5 schools (the Owls have a few of them peppered on the schedule), you’ve got to beat Power 5 schools for quite a few players.
Don’t trust Geoff or me, trust the more higher-profile Power 5 coaches who verified much of this class. It helps ease any anxiety that a whole different set of professionals watched the same film and see the same things Collins and his staff does.
Monday: High Hopes
Wednesday: Stadium Thoughts