There are none so blind as refuse to see.
The blueprints for Temple football’s decade-long transformation from 2006 chump to 2016 champ were in the Edberg-Olson Complex for all to see and it appears, after some rummaging through the files in the attic, Rod Carey’s staff have found them in one important area: Recruiting.
After a hiatus of Geoff Collins making a failed run through the South to fuel Temple with largely suspects, the Owls have gotten back to the prospect formula that worked so well for Al Golden and Matt Rhule:
Recruit Mid-Atlantic and DMV (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) hard but, more importantly, get a significant number of players who have Power 5 offers. For Golden and Rhule, that breakdown was roughly this: 10-15 three stars and above with solid P5 offers with the rest of the class at least two stars and trusting the film on the others.
That’s what I’m talkin’ about, Willis.
Two stars like Tyler Matakevich (consensus national defensive player of the year as a senior) and Haason Reddick (a first-round NFL draft choice) were coached into five stars by the time they left.
Still, you can’t coach every two-star into a five-star and your chances are a lot better when your base is three.
We won’t get into every recruit, but running back Johnny Martin III is rated near the top of RBs in New Jersey and strong side defensive end Jordan Laudato of West Chester Henderson was rated as high as the No. 2 DE in the state of Pennsylvania. The Owls’ most recent commitment, safety Christian Abraham (St. Joseph’s, Montvale, N.J.) is in the top 30 of defensive players in that state. Justin Lynch (Mount Carmel, Chicago) is the brother of a quarterback (Jordan) who was a Heisman Trophy finalist at Rod Carey’s former school, NIU. He was the leader of a state championship team in Illinois a year ago. In horse racing, good bloodlines almost always mean triple crown contenders. I like Lynch’s future at Temple. He was one of the few who didn’t have a P5 offer, but his film is among the most impressive.
According to Scout.com, Temple now has 10 “hard commitments” and not a single one is lower than a three-star. Almost all had Power 5 offers (not just interest) in hand by commitment day. That’s the best recruiting start we’ve seen in a long while.
Even more importantly, the Owls have been building trust and relationships centered particularly around running backs coach Gabe Infante. Recruits have gone out of their way to praise Infante and he seems to be thriving in a role once played by Fran Brown.
Friday: One of Dick Englert’s last letters from a fan