Portal players who can help the Owls win now

Sean Tyler would be a nice addition to the Temple backfield

College football a couple of days ago was fun.

Not a single transfer portal player in sight, no NLI deals and no big game opt outs during Saturday’s 20-17 thrilling win for Army over Navy in the same stadium Temple calls home.

It was a refreshing respite and a reminder how college football used to be.

Somehow, the pendulum has swung the other way for the remaining 128 FBS teams (Air Force also enjoys the same immunity to the current ills of the system).

Reality returns today and Temple has to play the game by today’s rules. Because Darian Varner left for the portal and because Jose Barbon declared for the NFL draft, a pass rusher and a wide receiver are a couple of positions Temple didn’t need to fill a few weeks ago but must address now.

First things first, though.

Devin Phillips already has a solid relationship with Temple line coach Antoine Smith.

RUNNING BACK _ Temple, as I see it, needs a big-time running back to take some of the pressure off quarterback E.J. Warner. The Owls cannot be placed in a position where they have to pass the ball on 3d and 1 like they did in a 49-46 loss to ECU. Joquez Smith, the incoming recruit from Tampa Jesuit, might address that need but he’s 5-7 and the Owls need someone who can get the inside yards and also has the speed to get outside. We mentioned in this space a week ago Ball State’s Carson Steele and Alcorn State’s Jarveon Howard, but those aren’t the only two. UCF’s Bentavious Thompson is also in the portal as is Northern Illinois’ Harrison Waylee (1,018 yards, five touchdowns). Western Michigan’s Sean Tyler also is a 1,000-yard rusher and he’s available. Gotta like those guys’ consistency over Edward Saydee, who had one breakout game. The thing Temple can sell all of these top running backs is head coach Stan Drayton’s earned reputation as a running backs’ guru and current NFL players like Ezekiel Elliott are willing to pick up the phone and put in a good word.

This is precisely why players in the portal SHOULD accept the first offer or risk being without a team in a couple of months.

PUNTER _ Temple is without one but Monmouth’s punter, Ryan Kost (48.1 average) is less than two hours away and in the portal as in Arkansas punter Reid Bauer (44.6).

DE_ With Varner gone, four-star Missouri DE Travion Ford would be a good replacement. Already, Temple has made a home visit and defensive line coach Antoine Smith made a positive impression.

DL_ Smith also has a connection to portal transfer Devin Phillips, who has 39 starts as a defensive lineman at Colorado State, where Smith was his line coach two years ago. He’s 6-2, 290 and considered a very good run defender.

OL_ Another possible addition is Texas’ Andrej Karic, who worked with head coach Stan Drayton when he was the RB coach at Texas two years ago. Maryland lineman Austin Fontaine is also in the portal and Philly is a short drive up the road.

The difference in the portal between this year and last year is that the better players are getting scooped up almost as soon as they enter and he who hesitates is lost. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are so few scholarships available compared to players in the portal that players are more likely than not to take the first solid offer and reward a program that shows them some love.

That’s why Temple needs to strike while the iron is hot because in a couple of weeks, it cools down. Fans might not like how far the pendulum has swung away from fairness but the teams who learn to play by the new rules will thrive and the others will be left behind.

Friday: Next Man Up?

17 thoughts on “Portal players who can help the Owls win now

  1. Wide Receiver. Barbon declared for the draft.., see my post last thread. If TUFB could offer NIL a guy like Barbon might have stayed another yr just like the UTSA QB…, meh

    12 players hit the portal, 7 out of the 12 are WR or RB. Plus Barbon.

    TUFB needs athletes who can score the football.

    • Even if TU has any NIL it’s probably a pathetic amount comparatively and if Barbon gets drafted he’ll be making so much more anyway. The NIL is just a way, typically American, to help the already rich get richer, college football/basketball a microcosm of our society – the real competition is only between the top programs I suspect.

      • Nail on the head. Even programs like Rutgers who only have a few measly good players will get those players poached by better Big 10 programs. The NIL/portal/opt out system is the biggest attack on fans in the 150 years of college football. Penny-wise, pound foolish. Watch fans enter the portal and go not to college football but to the NFL which long ago understood the only way to thrive is to develop a system where everyone has an equal chance to succeed.

  2. Just lost Ford to Toledo. Real head-scratcher. Antoine Smith is a proven line coach in a better league with a better TV contract. Now we might have to dip in and get one of those linemen from a Final Four FCS team. Get me a guy with double-digit sacks from a Montana State or a South Dakota who looks at Temple as a real opportunity.

  3. Smith gets on the field results but his recruiting abilities are limited …, does Drayton have a plan?

    Recently 14 players (and counting) left the program unexpectedly, 13 via portal and Barbon. Granted most were 2d and 3rd teamers, but they still must be replaced. By whom?

    Will Drayton replace with similar or greater talent? HUGE TASK in the current NIL environment.

    TUFB is a Developmental Program. Play freshmen, like AG did, and develop your own depth. Playing freshmen is the only way TUFB will be able to compete in the current macro environment. The portal is Fool’s Gold for programs like TU.

  4. On parity: A generation back, the 85 scholarship limit was imposed. It was thought to be a way to share the wealth of players with more schools rather than a few big schools signing players to keep them from going to a rival school.

    Then the years of court battles which resulted in NIL (O’Banion case). The Court did not impose rules on how it would work. NCAA punted to Congress, probably because the lawyers warned any rules that would be considered affecting payments would be challenged in court, all the way to SCOTUS, meaning many years and lots of $.

    Congress hasn’t done anything to set up regulations. Each party has run things once the NIL decision was determined, and neither has championed a bill. So it goes to the states by default.

    Some states immediately passed legislation promulgating rules for it. But some states have less restrictive rules allowing schools in those states to do things schools in other states aren’t permitted. So the affected state legislatures then revise the rules to level the playing field.

    Meanwhile, coaches have to deal with it and keep eyes on boosters who can get carried away. Ask any coach and he’ll tell you he’d rather not have NIL, at least as it is structured presently. That covers coaches at blue chip programs that have a lot of offers for incoming players as well as less fortunate programs like Temple.

    The sad reality is that if there was a Hassan Reddick on the Owl roster today, there’d be little if any NIL available to him with the focus of the city on the Eagles and NFL, especially this season, even if the Owls would be ranked. But other than Jay Wright, has there been any college program individual that could land any deals?

  5. Not disagreeing that we could use some quicker running backs but from watching games it seems that Saydee got stacked up time and again because there were no holes opened up for him – the O-line (or the blocking schemes – not picking up linebackers?) was the problem. He had that one great game when there were holes for him to run thru. But I could be wrong…….

    • I think the fact that he and Hubbard were our only choices to get the yard we needed in the ECU game limited us on the offensive play-calling aspect. You need a big-time back that can strike fear in the opposition on a 3d and 1. Ryquell Armstead was that. Bernard Pierce was that. Montel Harris was that. Edward Saydee was definitely not that. There are players in the portal who are that. Let’s get at least one of them. There were a couple of times we needed a first down to sustain drives in the the RU game and instead of maintaining his balance to stay on his feet and glide past the marker his knee hit the ground a foot or so short. Even Matty Brown had that knack of staying on his feet to get the necessary yardage. That irked me to no end.

    • yes KJ, you are more correct in hope of Portal vs reality of Portal. WE can only hope for Home Grown , IMO..

      • This is really the first test of Stan Drayton The Great Recruiter. Reserving my judgment under after the Dec. 21-23 signing period. Underwhelmed so far. Very impressed that he brought in Adonicas Sanders last year but we need 10 Adonicas Sanders at varied positions this year. Thought he’d be able to do it. He’s got 10 days.

      • Mike what concerns me right now is I see players making visits or being visited by other teams and next day they’re signed. Seeing Temple make visits and then nothing so far. While the portal still needs to be worked have to agree with KJ and others that primary emphasis needs to be recruiting and developing those 2 and 3 star HS players

      • JD, that’s one concern. Another concern is we are bringing in a FIU back who had 321 yards. That’s half of what Saydee has. So, so many players in the portal who have twice the numbers of Saydee and yet we are bringing in a kid who has HALF the numbers of Saydee. You know why? Because Everett Withers coached at FIU last year and one of our grad assistants was his RB coach last year. Not good enough. That’s a lazy man’s way of recruiting. Get the kid you don’t know who put up big-time numbers to advance the organization. Don’t bring in your buddies.

  6. Drayton just started mainlining the reality of TUFB talent acquisition in the NIL era. He is stunned and trying to re-group. I think he realizes now why Elko, Herman, and others gave TU the stink eye. Drayton will be gone in ’24 if TU goes bowling in ’23.

    The BOT has told the AD and Athletic Dept in so many ways, and so many times.., “the G5 is fine w/us. Win or lose, it’s all good.”

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