Temple needed to sign about 14 Darvon Hubbards for this class to make an immediate impact.
Two things you will never hear a college football coach say:
- “We’ve got no chance this season.”
2. “Today is signing day. We did a lousy job getting players.”
The first Wednesday in February was the “old” signing day. It’s the most important day now. It hasn’t been that important to Temple football since the 2007 season when Al Golden took great pride in the fact that one of the two major online scouting services ranked the Temple recruiting class No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Many of those players had key roles for the 2009 team that played in the Eagle Bank Bowl. Arguably, they were even better in 2010 season when they went 8-4 and beat the G5’s only representative in the top six bowls, UCONN. (That Temple team didn’t go to a bowl but should have. On the day after Golden had to break the bad news to the Owls, he hightailed it out to Miami.)
Since then, Temple has not had a No. 1 recruiting class in any league it has been a participant.
Still, the Owls were able to not only win one championship (2016) but finish second in another season (2015).
Those were outliers, though, and the “inlier” of every recruiting year is that the haves will win championships and the haves will not. Since Temple beat Cincinnati in the 2018 season, the Bearcats have had No. 1-ranked recruiting classes in the AAC and Temple has been in the middle of the pack or worse.
Despite coaching schemes that were better suited to NIU personnel than Temple’s, Rod Carey was able to cobble together whatever talent Geoff Collins had in that 2019 season and win eight games. On the field, recruiting has pretty much predicted the wins and losses.
It does almost every year in every league.
This year, despite hiring a “charismatic” head coach, the Owls have failed to move up from their penultimate ranking in the league’s recruiting. To expect a recruiting class at the bottom of the league now to finish in the top of taking care of business on the field two or three years from now takes an overly active imagination.
Logically, that cannot continue for Temple to expect success in the future.
Stan Drayton could prove to be a great recruiter in the future but did not deliver a great first class. Other than Kurt Warner’s son, Elijah, or a portal running back from Texas A&M, Darvon Hubbard, there isn’t a significant IMMEDIATE impact player in this group.
Still, the Hubbard transfer represents more of what Temple needs right now. Power 5 players with big upside who haven’t been able to get on the field but could help the Owls. Temple had about five running backs who were decent last year but could not outrun a single AAC secondary for a long score. That was a huge red flag. Temple needs someone who is a threat to take it to the house on every single handoff, just like Paul Palmer, Bernard Pierce and Jahad Thomas was back in their days.
Hubbard, who has a better resume than any of the holdovers, just might be and Warner, because he’s got the same bloodlines as his dad, should be an immediate upgrade over the departed Justin Lynch. Lord knows Dwan Mathis who was good in only one game–but NOT GOOD ENOUGH in the others–needs competition next season. He needs to fear that there is someone behind him good enough to replace him. Warner may or may not be that guy but there are plenty of players still left in the portal who are and Temple should be open to getting them as well.
When you lose the last six games of the season by seemingly (although not actually) 100-0 each Saturday, that dictates the talent you have in the Edberg Olson Hall meeting room needs a significant upgrade.
Have we seen it with the players this new staff has brought in?
When Wednesday rolls around, Drayton will say all the right things about being pleased with his first recruiting class but unless he brings in more guys like Warner and Hubbard, history will tell the story. The Owls need run-stoppers and pass rushers, particularly. They can get by with the corners, safeties, and linebackers they have right now but the defensive front seven needs to be stronger, both literally and figuratively, and that can’t be improved just in the weight room.
Temple needs to get to where it was recruiting at the top of the league it competes in and it hasn’t been there in a decade and a half. It needs 14 Hubbards at all positions, not just one at running back.
There’s a reason why Alabama or Georgia win the recruiting rankings every year and four years later one of them win the natty. Temple needs only to win the AAC recruiting rankings. It won’t this season but that better be the standard next. It has not been met this year due to the extenuating circumstance of waiting too long to fire the last guy (who should have been outta here after the USF debacle and what we wrote right after that game in this space).
Next year, Temple’s class should be at the top of the league.
The Temple administration or fans should demand no less.
Monday: Great Expectations.