Recruiting 2021: That’s What I’m Talking About

 

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.

betting

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

Recruiting looking up for Carey

National High School Coach of the Year Gabe Infante will have a positive impact on both Temple’s game plans and recruiting

People who were wondering what the Temple football coaches were doing since spring practice was cut short can rest easy now because it’s obvious that they haven’t been.

The Temple coaches obviously have been working and working hard.

Rod Carey dipped into his past to pick up a center and now the Owls have a marquee running back for the future.

The 2021 class now includes one of the best running backs in South Jersey, Blackwood’s Johnny Martin and the Owls were able to land a big-time portal transfer from Northern Illinois, center C.J. Perez, to fit an area of need.

Also, Gonzaga (D.C.) defensive back Jalen McMurray turned down multiple Power 5 offers to attend Temple on a firm commitment (“I won’t listen to other offers”) and Iowa State’s No. 2 quarterback, Re-Al Mitchell, is a portal transfer.

Impressive indeed as I don’t recall even great recruiters like Al Golden and Matt Rhule getting a similar haul in the space of one month. Rod Carey is a damn good gameday coach, even if I disagree with his RPO offense, but him getting players eschewing the Power 5 for Temple was always a huge question for me.

Not anymore.

Already, the recruiting prowess of running backs coach Gabe Infante is starting to show. Infante has been a legendary high school head coach in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and, when he was hired, it was thought he would be able to bring in a motherlode of talent from both sides of the river.

It took more time than I thought but better late than never.

To me, if Carey ever left, Al Golden would be a nice replacement but Infante might be an even better one. Golden can recruit and CEO but Infante can recruit and game-day head coach way better than Al. CEO? That’s a question but he was a damn good CEO at St. Joseph’s Prep.

It took him a little time to get his feet wet, but now it appears his persuasive powers helped him land someone who a few Power 5 schools were after. Just look at this quote from Martin, as told to 247 sports recruiting guru Brian Dohn.

If the kind of relationship-building skills Infante showed with Martin manifests itself in future recruits, the Owls could be moving up the rankings. Right now, their class is in the middle of the AAC pack (fifth) and they are an unacceptable 83 overall.

Something tells me by filling in areas of immediate need, as with Perez, and future need, as with Martin, the 2021 class will finish closer to 50 nationally and in the top three in the conference when all is said and done.

Not ideal, but you can win with those kinds of numbers, and,  with a head coach with an FBS record of 60-36, you can win a lot.

I’m not asking to win national championships at Temple but I’m asking to win a lot and the month of May, 2020, has been a terrific step in that direction. It’s nice to know the coaches are earning their coronavirus paychecks.

Monday: Suspending Campaigns