While waiting for the most consequential television show about Temple since the 2016 AAC championship game, the thought occurred that the most high-profile of recent departures tweeted about receiving offers from Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt.
That’s what the transfer portal has come down to these days.
An All-AAC defensive end leaving Temple for maybe … maybe … two bottom-feeders in Power 5 Conferences. SMH (or shaking my head as the kids say today). Does Darian Varner really think his NFL draft status will be more enhanced by playing for a losing ACC or SEC team vs. perhaps winning the AAC Defensive Player of the Year for a resurgent Temple?
If so, he’s getting some very bad advice.
Varner is not only the latest departure from Temple but he represents a trend that can and should be stopped now.
Single-digit guys leaving Temple.
It’s Varner this year, last year it was Jadan Blue and a couple of years ago it was Quincy Roche and Isaiah Graham-Mobley. Then Temple fans had to not only go through the indignity of watching their former players on TV for teams they don’t like, but they also have to hear the announcers tell them how tough the guy was because he earned a single digit at Temple.
After the signing day show (Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPN+), Temple head coach Stan Drayton can remedy that situation with one simple announcement.
No more single digits will ever be awarded at Temple until the summer camp before that player’s senior and final season of eligibility at 10th and Diamond.
Part of being Temple TUFF is being Temple Committed and only those guys who stay until the end should be rewarded with a single digit for their final seasons. No longer will it be rewarded to underclassmen who have an option to leave.
It’s a Temple tradition and should remain that way.
Wednesday is shaping up as at least a decent day because the best high school running back in Florida (Joquez Smith) and ONE of (if not the best) high school wide receivers in that state (Richard Dandridge) reaffirmed their intentions of signing on the dotted line last week. They have a shot at Colorado State’s best defensive lineman and another transfer portal defensive lineman from Nebraska. Decent turns into good with the addition of those linemen. Good turns into outstanding if the Owls can grab an established FBS or FCS running back.
That’s important because if Temple doesn’t sign a 1,000-yard rusher from the transfer portal, the Owls only hope of upgrading the running game is if Smith either beats out Edward Saydee or Saydee has twice the production next year that he had this one. The Dandridge piece is important because he appears to be the heir apparent for Jose Barbon, who is leaving for the NFL draft. I don’t see Saydee getting twice as good and maybe Smith steps in and pulls the kind of true freshman season Bernard Piece did in 2009. Preferably, you’d like to see a big-time portal running back and a big-time portal wide receiver joining those two.
If Barbon came back, he certainly deserved a single digit.
If Smith and Dandridge stay for the full four years, they certainly should receive every consideration for the same honor prior to their final seasons.
The era of Temple single digits leaving for elsewhere is something that can be easily fixed and should.
Friday: Reaction to Early Signing Day
Monday: Five Plays We’d Like to Have Back