Anyone Joe Blow who closely followed Temple football could have offered Stan Drayton some fantastic advice going into his first season.
To a man, even the average Temple fan knew that the Owls needed help at running the ball, throwing the ball, stopping the run and special teams.
Outside of those areas, they were (and are) in good shape but that’s a lot for one man to handle.
What Drayton has done so far as addressed those needs as he brought in two highly recruited Power 5 running backs, a quarterback who once started against and beat a team Temple lost 55-13 to (North Carolina) and beef on the lines and a special teams coach who has the opposite record of the last guy who was a friend of the most failed head coach in recent Temple football history.
All of those immediate needs addressed, Drayton has rolled up his sleeves and is now doing the kind of work both Al Golden promised and did.
“I will build a house of brick, not straw,” Golden promised.
Golden kept that promise by grabbing three of the top high school recruiting classes in the league he was given to compete against as ranked by either Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Now, instead of the fans, the high school recruits are doing the talking and they are providing a clue as to Drayton’s overall Temple strategy. No one knows where this class will be ranked but the talent is remarkable.
The quote from one of them was “Coach Drayton said while the transfer portal is important, we’re building the program with the high school guys.”
That means Drayton is here not for the quick fix, but also the long haul. It makes sense.
So far, the haul has been nice. Let’s not talk about all of them today, but just a few.
Drayton pulled in a quarterback from Ocean Township, Tyler Douglas, who quarterback guru Tony Racioppi developed former Temple commit Kenny Pickett into a first-round NFL draft choice. “We put Tyler in with a group of five quarterback prospects, including Kenny, and he held his own,” Racioppi said. “Temple is getting a great recruit.”
Temple is also getting speedy CB in Kaleb Barnett, who ran a 10.7 time in the 100-meter dash. By comparison, Temple third-round NFL draft choice Bernard Pierce ran a 10.6 (fastest in Pennsylvania) during his senior year. At Glen Mills, Pierce ran for 1,578 yards and 26 touchdowns his senior year. By the time he was a junior at Temple, Pierce had those same number of yards and 25 touchdowns for the Owls.
Temple is also getting an athlete from Harrisburg High, Kyle Williams, who 247.com recruiting guru said: “Don’t let rankings or stats fool you. That’s one of the elite football players in the state of Pennsylvania.”
In Hun School (N.J.) wide receiver Preston Everhart, the Owls are getting someone who his former coach, Brett Glass (Dublin High, Jerome, Ohio) said can turn “nothing into a big play.”
In linebacker/defensive end Tyrese Whitaker, the Owls are getting someone who turned down solid offers from Cincinnati and Maryland to attend Temple.
That’s what a charismatic coach with a vision like Drayton can do and is doing. He’s plugging the holes in the house now, trying to make it presentable to the neighbors. Recruits are buying the vision he’s selling. Given time, he will rebuild it into something more sturdy down the line.
Meanwhile, the front porch should be transformed from a shambles to presentable by some cosmetic tweaks earlier and noticeable by the Duke game. The foundation, though, is being laid this summer and should be apparent in a couple of short years.
Monday: Getting The Call