Breaking up with Illinois not hard to do

Jakari Norwood shows here that you can’t teach speed.

The transfer portal giveth and it also taketh away.

When it comes to Illinois football and Temple football, it giveth.

Don’t know why Temple is a destination for Illinois players, but as a Temple fan, I will take it.

When you have a head coach with all the charisma of a dead fish (and not all that long ago, Temple did), the portal door only seems to have an exit sign.

Now that Temple has a charismatic head coach, like Stan Drayton, the entrances seem to outnumber the exits.

That’s a good thing.

The latest Illinois’ running back to pick Temple is Jakari Norwood, who committed after a visit to Temple this weekend. He is second Illinois running back to commit to Temple in the last three years, with Ra’Von Bonner picking the Owls in 2020.

Jakari Norwood gets robbed of a touchdown vs. Nebraska here.


Yet to be determined but arguably Bonner had better numbers at Illinois (822 yards, 10 touchdowns) than Norwood (49 carries, 244 yards, no touchdowns) and Bonner did not make much of an impact here.

That fact has to be tempered by the last coach’s history of failure in getting the entire running game at Temple to work no matter who carried the ball and that this coach is a highly touted run game specialist.

We shall see.

Bonner and Norwood were both starters at Illinois (Bonner started 10 games and Norwood one). Another one-time Illinois starter, Jacob Hollins, is a current linebacker at Temple.

The acquisitions show that Drayton is taking a hard look at the roster. Running backs did not make an impact in last month’s Cherry and White game the chief reason appeared to be the lack of breakaway speed among any of them and that includes sprinter Darvon Hubbard, a Texas A&M portal transfer.

Norwood, a 100- and 200-meter state champion in Florida, does have breakaway speed.

When he graduated from Deerfield (Fla.) High, he was ranked among the top 100 running backs in the country. Temple almost never gets that kind of recruit.

If he wins the job, he will have two years left to show why he was rated that highly and probably will bring a chip on his shoulder to prove it.

9 thoughts on “Breaking up with Illinois not hard to do

  1. Mike,
    That stooge Pat Kraft hires Rod Carey and keeps getting bigger jobs. Bloody amazing. People at PSU all excited. This is twilight world. That guy should have been responsible for Carey’s buyout – heck take him to PSU. To hire Rod Carey after interviewing him shows a complete lack of intelligence and presence. Does anyone think Rod Carey wowed anyone during an interview and then suddenly turned into a mummy with no energy, no people skills and no coaching acumen? Hardly. Kraft hired him in a panic which should be fair warning to PSU fans, you have a guy that should be a HS AD running your athletics- you are seriously screwed.

    C E a speed

    • Manny: “Pat, I hate to tell you this. I never wanted to be THAT guy but I’m leaving for Miami.” Pat: “What do I do now?” Manny: “You went to Indiana. Rod Carey went to Indiana. He just won the MAC. Maybe give him a call.” Pat: “Thanks. I think I will.” I could just see it going down like that because all of these college coaches know everyone else. Even if Manny didn’t bring it up, gotta think Carey was always a fallback guy if Manny said no the first time. Kraft played football at Indiana. Carey played football at Indiana only a couple of years apart. If they didn’t know each other, they sure “knew of” each other and if that wasn’t the case, I doubt Carey would have ever gotten within sniffing distance of the Temple job.

  2. Mike
    I was looking at the list of Free-Agent signings after the draft and failed to see any Temple Owl listed for any team. Perhaps I just overlooked it, but unless you count the guy who went to PSU, it looks like Temple has NO ONE graduating to the NFL.


    • IGM signed with the Panthers, as did Russo UDFA. I think but I’m not 100 percent sure if Stan were here last year, they would have both remained at Temple. Maybe Kris Banks. Probably Russo, too. From what I saw of Mathis he was not better than Russo and it’s a disgrace we had to play a true freshman against Boston College. Russo puts up a lot more than 3 points against that team. Maybe not 29 but certainly a lot more than three.

    • Temple has the least talented roster in the AAC. The last 11 players who have entered the portal would not start for any other team in the conference.

      Drayton is treading water this year.., 5 wins is a stretch. Talent Acquisition is now Job #1.

      • A year ago, Carey was satisfied with the roster and stopped acquiring talent at six. It appears that Drayton is having “real talk” with deep subs to free up more scholarship space for need areas like running back so he understands. They need to get an accomplished quarterback in here ASAP.

      • This situation is similar to Al G’s first year. It’s not Year One, it’s Year Zero. That’s how much a rebuild this is. Carey legitimately evaporated 15 years of progress in less than three years.

        Stan looks to be moving in a positive direction with the culture. Talent needs to follow. He and his staff seem to be doing a better job at rebuilding recruiting relationships that atrophied under Carey. He looks to be having tough conversations with some players about going to the portal so he can bring in new talent.

        Much more road to travel but Stan is doing the right things in the early stages. There is reason to hope.

  3. Drayton can close his eyes, throw a dart at the portal and hit a home run.

    DT and TE are the only positions on the current roster ready for conference play.

  4. Drayton can close his eyes, throw a dart at the portal and hit a home run.

    DT and TE are the only positions on the current roster ready for conference play.

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