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.