In the old days before portals and graduate transfers, college football coaches would turn to big-time JUCO players to fill a need for a year or two.
It still should be one of the three options.
Temple is pretty well set up in every position this season, save depth on the offensive line and starting running back.
Since Rod Carey seems very reluctant to pull the trigger on making Isaiah Wright a full-time running back, a big-time JUCO seemed to be the way to go earlier in the offseason.
Unfortunately, the latest “big-time JUCO” running back who joined Temple as a preferred walk-on, doesn’t seem to have the credentials (1,000-plus yards, 25-plus touchdowns, 4.5 speed).
Mike Mitchell is the latest JUCO recruit to commit to Temple and his stats are just about the opposite of those above. Playing for ASA Junior College, he put up these numbers:
Going back even further, his most impressive game in high school at Pleasant Valley in Brodheadsville was a two-touchdown performance in a 36-27 loss to Allentown Central Catholic on Sept. 3, 2016. By comparison, the guy who scored five touchdowns in that game, Darnell Ferrell, is at West Chester University.
Looks like a scout team player at worst or a backup cornerback at best.
Still, there is a bigger time JUCO on the Owls’ roster already and he already has a spring practice under his belt at Temple. Tayvon Ruley’s JUCO stats were a little better: 1,028 yards and 13 touchdowns on 120 carries. Before that, he was even better at Penn Wood High in Delaware County. By most accounts, Ruley had a very good spring with the Owls and forced his way to near the front of the running back room and has a chance for a lot of carries this fall. Tyliek Raynor and Jager Gardner are also in the mix and Jeremy Jennings might be the fastest running back of them all. Still, he doesn’t seem to have the open-field moves that the others have.
Wright, though, is a big-time player way above the JUCO grade and the Owls are lucky to have him.
As a Temple fan, you’ve got to hope a special talent like Wright gets that important job first and make whiffing on a big-time JUCO running back look like a moot point.
Sunday: What the AAC and Temple Can Learn from Boise State