For those Temple players who saw the performance of Isaiah Graham-Mobley and Khris Banks on Saturday and think grass is greener on the other side of the street, they might want to think again.
For every IGM and Banks, there are about five Quincy Roches or Ifeanyi Maijehs.
Call it The Temple Curse. Call it whatever you want but, since Matt Rhule left, it also applies to coaches who succeeded him.
First, we will stick with the players.
Roche left Temple to go to Miami was considered “a 3-4 round” draft pick had he gone straight to the NFL from 10th and Diamond.
He left for Miami to ostensibly increase his draft standing but he really made it worse. Roche was drafted in the sixth round (not fourth) and to add insult to injury had to split his time on the field in his final year with two other defensive ends in Manny Diaz’s rotation.
He was cut by the Steelers and is now on their practice squad.
Had Roche remained at Temple and claimed a second consecutive AAC Defensive Player of the Year Award, chances are better than even that Roche would have been drafted no lower than four and a team with that kind of investment would have to think twice before cutting him.
Maijeh is a similar story. He was a first-team All-AAC defensive tackle in 2019 but used the portal to make his way to Rutgers where he has three whole tackles this season, all assists and no solo ones. His career definitely is on a downward trend and has been for some time. After that first season at Temple when he had 52 tackles and 6.5 sacks, he was putrid last year with only 15 tackles and no sacks.
Kenny Yeboah left Temple to go to Ole Miss but that didn’t help him in the draft, either. He wasn’t drafted and had to go to the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He was cut by the Jets and, like Roche, a practice squad player.
Anthony Russo left Temple to play in the Big 10 but it doesn’t look good for him, either, as Payton Thorne has been stellar. Russo got injured in meaningless mop-up time against Youngstown State and left the game in a walking boot. Had Russo remained at Temple he might have backed up D’Wan Mathis but more than certainly would have been ahead of true freshman Justin Lynch in the depth chart.
If that was Russo behind center on Saturday, do you think the Owls score “only” three points? I don’t. He put up a total of 58 as the starting QB against both Navy and Memphis last year and was playing a defense that allowed 28 points the week before to a far less talented UMass team.
Vandy running back Ra’Mahn Davis, who didn’t do squat in a 23-3 loss to East Tennessee (not regular Tennessee or even Middle Tennessee), was a victim of the Temple Curse as he is injured and for the season. He went the extra step of quitting in the middle of last season.
Cornerback Linwood Crump Jr. left the team to become almost a certain starter at Colorado State but he got injured in preseason and will not play this fall.
Somebody up there or down here or sideways doesn’t like players who leave Temple. So far so good for IGM and Banks but, if I’m them, my radar is up for cutback blocks or targeting next week.
Meanwhile, both Diaz and Geoff Collins are under fire at Miami and Georgia Tech and they might be dismissed before Rod Carey is because those schools routinely eat bad contracts and Temple does not.
Ironically, one of the stated reasons for this portal rule is if coaches could leave for another school without sitting out a year, players should be able to as well.
A simple solution for that (probably not holding up legally) would be for both coaches and players to have to sit out a year.
Now, it’s a free-for-all and MOST people are finding out that the grass is not greener on the other side of 10th Street.
Maybe that will stop the hemorrhaging of players in the future but it certainly doesn’t help Temple now.
Friday: The Wagner, err, Game