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

Signing Day II: Epic Fail

From the day the regular season ended, the expectations from this Temple football fan for next season was a minimum double-digit in wins and an AAC championship. There were that many impact players returning.

Then the dominoes fell.


There are moving parts here,
though, in that next year’s
team will be primarily recruited
by Geoff Collins and Matt Rhule,
so there is some hope but these
coaches also were primarily
responsible for coaching that
talent down to 55-13, 42-21 and
62-21 losses that should have
never happened. In the above video,
Temple head coach Rod Carey talks
about the “culture here” but that
culture hasn’t included three such
losses in a single season in almost
a decade so you’ve got to wonder
about the culture

The Owls, a touchdown underdog to a 6-6 UNC team, were blown out, 55-13. Then they lost one of the top three centers in the country, Matt Hennessy, and the best defensive player in the AAC, Quincy Roche, and a real good defensive back in Harrison Hand. I hoped all three would be back. None will. That, combined with losing three great linebackers as a part of the normal attrition in college football, lowered the bar a little.

I recalibrated those expectations from 10 to six wins based on that alone.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of good players on this team–from quarterback Anthony Russo (who has a chance to put up the best career stats of any Temple signal caller next year) to wide receivers Jadan Blue and Branden Mack, running back Ray Davis, seasoned offensive linemen (Vince Picozzi, Isaac Moore, Joe Hooper and Adam Klein), defensive players Isaiah Graham-Mobley, William Kwenkeu, Audley Isaacs, Ifeanyi Maijeh, Dan Archibong, Kris Banks, Arnold Ebiketie, George Reid, Amir Tyler, DaeSean Winston, and cornerbacks Christian Braswell, Ty Mason and Freddie Johnson. Geez, BUT those guys needed Hennessy, Hand and Roche to go to war with them to go from good to great.

Maybe, though, the second signing period would produce acceptable replacements for the guys who I thought would be back.

Like if the Owls could do a couple of things–like getting portal help from Miami defensive end Scott Patchan and Rutgers center Michael Maetti–move that bar back up to eight. What happens if Ray Davis goes down? Do we have an elite level college football tailback to replace him? No.

Instead, as a result of Signing Day II, where the Owls got only two players who couldn’t play at a high level at Wake Forest and West Virginia and an offensive line transfer from Dayton, Michael Niese, the needle was moved back to six. The need for a great running back to replace Jager Gardner wasn’t even addressed. Both Scout.com and Rivals.com had this class rated in the middle of the AAC pack. The West Virginia transfer, Kwantel Raines, a 6-3, 205-pound freshman safety, played in six games and had nine tackles.

I hope I’m wrong but if the Owls recruit in the middle of the AAC pack, that’s exactly where they should expect to be.

rhulerusso

I don’t think the phrase RPO ever came up when Matt Rhule closed this deal.

There are moving parts here, though, in that next year’s team will be primarily recruited by Geoff Collins and Matt Rhule, so there is some hope but these coaches also were primarily responsible for coaching that talent down to 55-13, 42-21 and 62-21 losses that should have never happened. In the above video, Temple head coach Rod Carey talks about the “culture here” but that culture hasn’t included three such losses in a single season in almost a decade so you’ve got to wonder about the culture. The “Temple football culture” has never been run-pass option. It’s always been smashmouth downhill running and explosiveness in the passing game off play-action fakes. I don’t think Matt Rhule ever recruited Anthony Russo by selling an Elite 11 Level pocket passer on an RPO.

Recalibrating expectations lower might be OK if you are a head coach who makes $2 million per and has a $10 million buyout, but as a Temple fan, I got used to being in two straight title games and two-straight 10-win seasons and that’s the level where this coaching staff should aspire to be.

Now we’re coming off two-straight eight-win seasons and looking under every rock, I don’t see seven wins next season let alone eight and not filling the holes that needed to be filled in this crucial second signing period is not a good sign.

Carey said he wants people who “want to be here” but if the AAC player of the year doesn’t want to be here (and we fans want him here) and is replaced by a guy who couldn’t get on the field for Wake Forest, the only way that can be interpreted is that a great talent doesn’t want to be here and lesser talent does.

Usually, the team with the better talent wins. Unless that formula changes unexpectedly, we’re pretty much bleeped next year.

We should find by Miami if it will be an enjoyable year or not (hint: no more 55-13 losses are acceptable) but the indications are not good. Right now, whatever Vegas sets as the win total, I would advise my betting friends to take the under. (I don’t bet Temple football so it’s moot to me.) Signing Day II was the last day to convince me otherwise and, in my mind, it was an Epic Fail.

Give me more than eight wins and I will repost this in a year and apologize. It’s hard for me to imagine that scenario now.

Monday: The records are this close

Spring Practice Question: Are the Owls better?

Screenshot 2020-02-02 at 1.26.50 PM

Punxsutawney Phil woke up yesterday and did not see his shadow and that means an early spring football practice at Temple.

Or something like that.

In actuality, we knew spring practice would be earlier than usual a couple of weeks ago when it was announced that the Cherry and White game will be on April 4th instead of the usual third Saturday of that month.

While the practice schedule hasn’t been released yet, you’ve got to believe that the first full one will not be too much after March 1. Since February is a short month anyway, that’s right around the corner.

So the big question becomes: Is Temple better this spring than last spring?

Two months ago, we would have said unequivocally yes. A month ago? No.

Wednesday, after a late signing day that demands a center and a defensive end (and maybe a running back who can step in for Ray Davis if he goes down), the answer will probably be the same.

As of the writing of this post, former Miami defensive end Scott Patchan is still in the portal as is the best center in the portal, Michael Maietti, formerly of Rutgers. Patchan was the starter until NFL prospect Gregory Rousseau took his job and left when Quincy Roche arrived on campus.

So far, though, the Owls have decided to go in a different direction, picking up Emmanuel Walker, a DE from Wake Forest, and an offensive lineman from FCS, Michael Niese from Dayton. Nice pickups, but neither have the street cred or production level of Patchan or Maietti. Patchan was a starter at Miami; Walker never started at Wake. The other guy is making a jump from FCS to FBS and does not have the 33 Big 10 starts that Maietti has. Starting in the Big 10 is one thing. Starting in the Big 10 for Rutgers and still making the Rimington Watch List as the best center in the country is quite another. Temple would seem to have an in for Maietti since Don Bosco is not all that far away and the Owls did so much for another Don Bosco grad, Matt Hennessy.

From a pure production standpoint, even though both Walker and Patchan are grad seniors, Patchan has better numbers: 24 starts, 63 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. Walker, on the other hand, has played in 11 games with 19 tackles (five for losses) and two sacks. It’s an apples to apples comparison, too, as both have competed in the ACC over the same amount of years.

As of the publication of this post–a little after midnight on Feb. 3–both Patchan and Maietti are still available in the portal according to their respective twitter feeds. That could change later today or tomorrow, but most certainly by Wednesday.

Maybe the Owls never went after both. Maybe they did and were spurned but if, in the end, they come up with less of a portal haul than they could have, the team as a whole that got a lot worse losing Hennessy and Roche in early January didn’t do enough to replace them by February. If, however, adding Pachan and Maietti to a haul that includes Niese and Walker, that’s different.

That would mean an early spring practice will be a lot sunnier and warmer than we originally thought.

Friday: Post-signing Day Review

 

 

Temple Recruiting Forecast: Imprecise

Kevin Copp breaks down the class

The long-range forecast for Annapolis is shaping up as pretty good for a week from today, which is good for Temple football.

Screenshot 2019-12-19 at 10.46.41 PM

Probably can get away without even a coat at the Temple-UNC game. The recruiting forecast is a little chillier.

The even longer-term forecast for Temple football recruiting: Not as good.

Like the weather, though, long-range recruiting forecasts can be imprecise and there is the hope that this one is, too.  Early signing day has come and gone and Rod Carey’s staff–despite losing recruiter extraordinaire Fran Brown–was able to get 20 signatures on the dotted line. That leaves approximately five more signatures to get by the second signing period in February.

Temple summer practice, football,

We’ll deal with those and the entire evaluation of the class at that time, though. For now, examining the trend is an important exercise and the Owls barely broke a sweat. The people who are paid to rate these things, Scout.com and Rivals.com, have Temple rated No. 8 and No. 4 among the schools that count, their fellow AAC rivals.

Do you think of Temple as an eight-place school in this league or even a fourth-place one? I don’t. The Owls have lost four coaches in a relatively short time span and, despite that, have the second-best regular-season record among AAC teams (only two games behind Memphis and at least one game ahead of everyone else). The Owls have one league championship and two league title appearances and only Memphis and UCF surpass those numbers at least in terms of championship appearances.

The goal should be higher than that, though.

Temple is in the middle of a vibrant city and right smack in the geographical center of 46 percent of the nation’s population, so winning both the recruiting and standings matter. If you don’t think recruiting ratings matter, just look at the teams that finish in the Top 10 every year. The Clemsons, the Ohio States, the Penn States, the Oklahomas and the Alabamas also routinely finish in the top 10 of the recruiting rankings. In the AAC, Cincinnati had the top recruiting class on either Scout.com or Rivals.com the last four seasons and, this year, beat out Temple, which did not. By the way, Oklahoma is on the schedule in 2024 so Rod Carey better get on the stick now.


… just look at the
teams that finish in
the Top 10 every year.
The Clemsons, the Ohio
States, the Penn States,
the Oklahomas and the
Alabamas also routinely
finish in the top 10 of
the recruiting rankings

 

Nobody is asking Temple to finish in the top 10 of the recruiting rankings but it would be nice every once in a while if the Owls would rip off a few 1-2 finishes in their own conference. Of Al Golden’s first five recruiting classes at Temple, at least three of them were rated No. 1 in the MAC by either Scout or Rivals. Four years after Golden’s first season, the Owls were playing toe-to-toe with a PAC-12 team, UCLA, in the Eagle Bank Bowl. There was no discernable dropoff in talent between the teams in that game.

I was struck by Marc Narducci’s story on the one recruited quarterback, Matt Duncan of Summerville, S.C. Narducci mentioned Duncan’s unimpressive four touchdown passes in his senior year by saying he had inexperienced wide receivers. I’m not buying it. A big-time recruit should have 25 or more touchdown passes, no matter if the waterboys are catching it. Anytime you mention the word “but” along with the stats is not a good sign. Anthony Russo had 35 touchdown passes in his final year at state champion Archbishop Wood.

Putting up big-time stats for an elite high school program certainly matters.

That’s one of the reasons I really like Nazir Burnell of Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg) who caught 27 touchdown passes in his senior year. That jumps off the page because, in the Al Golden Era and afterward, Bruce Francis’ 15 touchdown catches rates as the high-water mark in a single season for Temple receivers. Trey Blair of Haverford High should also become a great college player. The linebacker commit who turned down a Georgia offer, Kobe Wilson, should be in the running to start alongside Gasparilla Bowl defensive MVP William Kwenkew and Isaiah Graham-Mobley next year. Darrius Pittman, the tight end transfer from Purdue, has a chance to mollify the loss of Kenny Yeboah.

Other than that, a lot of them fall into the developmental category, generally speaking. Not that developmental players haven’t fueled success in the past, but you don’t want to punch your meal ticket on those types.

At his signing days, Golden got up and announced to the crowd that his classes were ranked No. 1 in the MAC several times and that statement drew loud applause. It was the result of his hard work and the hard work of recruiters on his staff like Ed Foley and Matt Rhule.

No doubt the Owls have survived a lot by developing the Keith Kirkwoods, the Tyler Matakeviches, the Quincy Roches, the Mo Wilkersons, the Haason Reddicks, the Matt Hennessys and the Jadan Blues–guys who were not heavily recruited–but recruiting an entire roster of those guys makes the margin of error even smaller. It would be nice to be able to develop those types alongside guys who were, say, a Big 33 MVP like Adrian Robinson (who de-committed from Pitt to attend Temple and had a great career here) or  Russo, who turned down an LSU offer and is at least on track become Temple’s all-time leading passer in terms of yardage.

That’s the kind of mix Temple should try to achieve and, just from the early forecast, it looks to have fallen a little short. The good news is that Temple might enter next season as the overall league favorite and achieving that championship could spur an even better-recruiting class in a year.

Let’s hope the forecast for the weather report holds up in seven days and the long-term recruiting forecast changes more in the Owls’ favor by the end of the winter.

Monday: An All-American Game Week

Some July 4 Recruiting Fireworks

carey

Coach Carey’s football camps served as a catalyst for an impressive recruiting haul so far.

One of the Temple assistant coaches tweeted out a message indicating that July 4 was a big day for Temple football.

He wasn’t kidding.

The Owls got these two graphic commitments below PLUS Willingboro (N.J.) wide receiver Chris Long.

Screenshot 2019-07-07 at 10.59.22 AM

As one Chris Long leaves his locker room at Lincoln Financial Field, another gets his locker there.  Maybe they can just move the nameplate to the Owls’ permanent lockerroom there.

Two very good players, one for the Eagles, one for the Owls.  Plus, Dyshier Clary and Alex Odom verbaled officially on July 4. It seems that Rod Carey’s football camps have left such a positive impact on a talented group of campers that offers are being accepted at a pretty fast clip.

Something good is happening this recruiting cycle and it appears that the talent is being upgraded–maybe significantly upgraded–over the last two Geoff Collins’ recruiting cycles.

There is always a caveat with recruiting these days because verbals are just that, a promise. Yet, looking over the last 10 classes, it’s a very rare instance that someone who made a promise to Temple flips and goes elsewhere. A couple of the biggest de-commits recently were Harrison Hand and Rob Saulin who Matt Rhule poached for Baylor but at least one of them came back (Hand, who has been approved to play this fall). Another who fits that bill was tight end Tyler Sear, who first committed to Temple only to flip to Pitt and now is back at Temple. Arkum Wadley committed to Temple and became a solid Big 10 running back for Iowa. Temple has benefited from the process as well as Karamo Dioubate committed first to Penn State, but changed his mind before signing day to Temple.

Right now, the Owls have 15 hard commitments, including Long, who turned down numerous Power 5 offers and is just the latest product of the hard work of recruiters extraordinaire Fran Brown. Between Brown and the NIU hires, including defensive line coach Walter Stewart. The Northern Illinois hires were able to bring in a top defensive lineman from Chicago that they were pursuing from a long time ago and Brown has been able to get his top targets.

So far, Scout.com lists Temple as second in the conference in recruiting.

You can say with a bullet because, when others were barbecuing and hitting the shore, the Temple coaches were hard at work. With roughly 10 more scholarships (given variables like attrition), the best might be yet to come.

Saturday: Temple’s Moon Landing

Monday (7/15): Who’s Here and Who’s Not

Saturday (7/21): GT Looks at Temple

(Due to a change in my work schedule at my primary job, posts will be Saturdays and Mondays through the Bucknell game, then we will resume a three-day schedule–Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays after the opener)

Temple’s recruiting reset button

footballs

You’ll be reading a lot about politics (though not here) in the next year and one of those things might be about this political candidate or that one hitting the “reset button.”

That got me to thinking about what all these coaching changes Temple has had in the last half-decade or so has done to recruiting. AMR (after Matt Rhule), both Geoff Collins and even Rod Carey now have had classes where they could at best provide a band-aid here and band-aid there in areas the Owls need immediate help.

That is an apt characterization of the first recruiting classes of both.

Now Carey, with a $10 million buyout that even a Power 5 school would think twice before eating, has an opportunity to hit the recruiting reset button. Let’s hope he takes it because a couple of band-aid-type classes thrown in every few years depletes the roster and a depleted roster eventually shows up on the field. The latest promising addition is running back Jeremiah Nelson and he put a lot of good moves on film, both at Iona Prep and Nassau County Community College.

 

Carey certainly has his own recruiting ideas from six successful seasons at Northern Illinois but Temple needs to aspire to get a higher level of recruit and has the geography to do it. NIU wasn’t located in the middle of 46 percent of the nation’s population, as Temple is, so the formula for the Owls would be 1-5 projects that the staff really likes on film and the rest three- and four-star prospects that not only the Temple staff likes but every paid P5 staff out there likes.

Trust, but verify.

e3b93-goldenhope
“My recruiting philosophy is simply this: Recruit an entire team every year. Eleven guys on defense, 11 guys on offense and a couple of specialists and you are never going to leave yourself short.” _ Al Golden

Temple has a lot to sell. Twenty-four current players in the NFL speaks well for the opportunity to play one part of your career in an NFL stadium and finish up the rest of it in another NFL stadium. That, plus the fact that Temple is a proven winner. Since 2015, the Owls have won one AAC title, appeared in another and have won more AAC football games than anyone else, including UCF, USF and Memphis. Plus, the school is nationally known as the sixth-largest educator of professionals so that sheepskin is something to fall back on should a pro football career not be in the offing. It’s in the middle of an exciting city and, unlike, say, Penn State,  not situated in the middle of nowhere. That appeals to “regular students” and it should also appeal to dynamic football players.

Fortunately, Carey has a gem like Fran Brown to head up the recruiting effort. In recruiting, Brown is the starting pitcher and Carey has to be the closer. Brown knows how Al Golden and Rhule build this team from the national bottom 10 to respectability.

“My recruiting philosophy is simply this,” Golden said when he got the Temple job. “Recruit an entire team every year. Eleven guys on defense, 11 guys on offense and a couple of specialists and you are never going to leave yourself short.”

That kind of sound thinking is the Cherry and White reset button Temple recruiting needs to hit now.

Saturday: The Long Game

Wednesday: The Bright Side

The Wisdom of Collins’ recruiting

Screenshot 2019-05-06 at 9.16.38 AM

One of the benefits of arriving at Cherry and White Day a couple of weeks ago was the Temple football informational sheet they handed out to every guest.

On one side was the complete roster, broken down alphabetically at the top and numerically below.

On the flip side were the football schedule (Bucknell, ugh), quick facts, coaching staff, pronunciation lists and football recruits.

The recruits–mostly the guys who arrive in July–seemed like a thin list but you could always find a number of guys who could be immediate contributors.

Not this year.

This year we found one: Wisdom Quarshie, who is listed as a 6-foot-3, 310-pound tackle who could play on either side of the ball. Todderick Hunt, the “Ted Silary” of NJ.com wrote this about him: “Senior defensive tackle Wisdom Quarshie is, arguably, the most violent offensive lineman in New Jersey. His highlight tape is a non-stop real of pancake blocks and on-field devastation. And he’ll now bring his lunch pail to Temple, less than 30 minutes away from his home, where his family, friends and all who support him can watch him live his dream.” (Note he called him a defensive tackle but said he was the most violent offensive lineman in NJ.)

Quarshie, a two-time first-team All-State player at St. Joe’s (Hammonton), appears to be ready-made to help but, of the 15 players listed as “recruits” on the info sheet, his sticking out like a sore thumb among those ready to make an impact points out the, err, Wisdom of Collins’ recruiting. Or lack of same. Hard to see anything but redshirts for the other 14 guys on the list of incoming recruits.

Collins had three classes and the only one worth much was unveiled on St. Pete Beach at the Gasparilla Bowl. In that one, he got two immediate offensive line starters and a grad transfer who became a second-round NFL draft choice.

Wayne Hardin once said recruiting was easy at Temple because you could “put a pencil in the middle of Broad Street and draw a 200-mile circle around it and come up with enough players to win.” Collins got away from that formula by concentrating his recruiting in the South. Good for him and his Southern-centric coaches, but bad for Temple.

Now that Fran Brown is back in charge of the important business of Temple recruiting, the Owls should return to their neighborhood roots where the fruits of Brown’s earlier stint here produced a championship roster.

Fran knows what he’s doing and, with him supplying the guys and Rod Carey coaching them up, that should be a productive partnership.

Friday: The Listerine Bowl

 

 

Recruiting: About as good as expected

next

 

Roughly a year ago at this time, Geoff Collins was on the beach sitting on a chair by a table with signatures of 24 commits all while prepping for a bowl game.

What a difference a year makes.

Coaching changes always cause upheaval so that’s probably one of about 99 good reasons why Temple needs to fix the revolving coaching door office at the Edberg-Olson Complex.

Just about every story coming out of AAC schools on Wednesday, including Temple, talk about how happy everyone was with the early signing day.

That’s great, but as an ex-President once said: “Trust, but verify.”

This is where Temple stands nationally, according to Rivals.com this morning:

rivals

This is where Temple stands where it counts, among its fellow AAC members, according to Scout.com:

scoutIf Temple is really going to be pleased with this recruiting haul, it should come in February, not December, this year because, while Collins just about nailed every target by now, new head coach Manny Diaz is going to have to use some of his Power 5 coaching connections to flush out the remaining eight scholarship recipients. If Diaz can bring in a lot of guys who have Power 5 offers between now and then, the Temple rankings go up considerably. Temple hasn’t had the No. 1 recruiting ranking in any league its played in since Rivals.com ranked the Owls’ 2012 recruiting class No. 1 in the MAC.

If recruiting rankings really mean nothing, then why are teams like Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Ohio State in the top 10 the last three years? Temple can get lucky on the Tyler Matakevichs and Muhammad Wilkersons of the world, but those are anecdotal stories and outliers to the whole recruiting process. It’s nice to get five of those type kids in every class, but it’s even nicer to get a boatload of four-star commits in the other 20 signees.

Maybe Temple shoots up the charts with a bullet in these next two months or so.

Hold the celebrations for February, though, because anything else is seeing things through Cherry and White-colored glasses.

Monday: Reasons To Be Optimistic This Game Week

Recruiting: Fireworks or Dud?

hardwork

It’s quite possible this recruiting haul on the beach last  year was better than this year.

For nearly two weeks now, the Temple football twitter site promoted July 4th fireworks with at least a hint or two that a big-time recruit will be committing on that day.

That’s the deal with fireworks. The more promises you make, the greater the expectations. Sometimes they go off in multi-colored extravaganzas and sometimes they blow up in your face. This latest rollout qualified more in the latter category than the former from what I can see.

Our thoughts on Temple football recruiting, particularly since Al Golden brought his binder to town, have simply been this:

TRUST BUT VERIFY.

The Philly.com article did not mention where the six July 4 commits received offers from in addition to Temple, but Shawn Pastor’s excellent site, OwlsDaily.com, did.  One of them was Kennique Bonner-Steward, a 6-4, 215-pound, dual-threat quarterback from William Amos High in Cornelius, N.C. Bonner-Steward had 17 offers, most from FCS schools and his top “other” FBS offers were from Tulane, Old Dominion and Georgia State (err, not Tech).

This is the spin Pravda–otherwise known as Owlscoop.com–put on the day:

pravda

A little misleading as an astute guy named Steve correctly pointed out:

stevebest

You will never, ever, ever, find Pravda criticize a Temple football recruiting class perhaps because the editor of that site is a paid Temple employee. Everything ranks from honky-dory to downright spectacular over there. Just a theory based on years of observation.

Speaking of which, that elicited a very defensive response from Gauss’ boss (John DiCarlo, above). What the hell does Tyler, Tavon, Dion, Matt and Nate have to do with Collins under-performing against P5 competition this year? And what, exactly, did Collins have to do with developing any of those above players?

The answer would be zero.

Just because Matt Rhule got the job done doesn’t mean Collins will do the same.

The other commitments were  running back Jamal Speaks (Upper Marlboro, Md), Tampa (Fla.) wide receiver Josh Youngblood and two defensive linemen from Georgia, Zaylin Wood and Jacoby Sharpe. Speaks had an offer from Maryland and Youngblood had an offer from Minnesota so, on the day, those are the two most-high profile Temple recruits.

Not the kind of fireworks we were looking for considering that the Owls were able to land much-higher profile guys under both Golden and Rhule.

Here’s another take calling out Pravda:

another

 

Temple football has a highly paid staff of professionals in charge of these things but the thought out there is that other schools have more highly paid professionals in charge of the same things and that if the two ever agreed on a player that would be a good thing, not a bad one.

Temple is never going to win all the battles with the so-called Power 5 schools for players, but our formula for long-term success is that Temple should win at least a few of them—anything from a quarter to a half—and then trust its instincts on other type players.

Those instincts have served other staffs well with guys like Muhammad Wilkerson (a two-star who turned into a first-round NFL draft choice) and Haason Reddick, a walk-on who was a higher first-round choice. Then there is Tyler Matakevich, who turned his only offer (Temple) into a national consensus defensive player of the year (Bednarik, Nagurski Awards).

Those are the exceptions, though, to the general college football rule. The really successful programs develop players in addition to be able to win a majority of recruiting battles.

Ideally, that’s the kind of recruiting balance you are looking for in a good class. This one has leaned in the developmental direction and, while that might turn out to be a good thing, it leans more toward risk than reward.

No matter how Pravda spins it.

 

Recruiting: Encouraging Signs in Early Returns

smiling

Not every recruit gets to experience this championship feeling like they do at Temple

College football recruiting ranking this early in the game are like exit polls in politics.

They don’t mean much except to a small core of addicts but do give some insight into where the process is headed.

For Temple football, that apparently is a good place because the Owls through their early camps—the places where the hard recruiting work is done—seem to be doing just fine with their AAC peers and, more importantly, the future regional P5 schools on the schedule.

Let’s take the Temple versus Rutgers and Temple vs. Georgia Tech  comparisons for instance. It’s important because Temple plays GT in 2019 and 2020 and RU in 2020 and 2021.

On Scout.com, which now encompasses the old 247.com site (with 50 full-time recruiting experts on the staff, Temple is ranked No. 63, while Rutgers is ranked 54. Both teams have six commitments with RU having five “three-stars” and Temple three of the same. Both teams are ahead of schools like Kansas State and Texas Tech.

On Rivals.com, Rutgers is No. 58 and Temple is No. 58—also ahead of Kansas State and Texas Tech. GT is 44 on Scout and 46 on Rivals. These numbers, of course, could change for the better or the worse but a lot of the groundwork has been laid by this charismatic coaching staff who connects well with the kids.

To use a political term, that is within the “margin of error” meaning that depending on how the respective staffs “coach up their player” could mean give one school or the other the overall talent advantage a couple of  years down the line.

Given Geoff Collins’ proven track record at places like Florida, Mississippi State, Alabama and Georgia Tech, that’s a good sign for Temple.

Collins was the defensive coordinator at two of those schools and the recruiting coordinator at the two others so he knows the talent coming and going.

By this time, Collins should know what he’s doing in terms of what it takes to push the right buttons in the kids’ (and their parents’) minds to get them to commit. It certainly helps that he has a world-class university in a world-class city to sell.

Signing day will tell the rest of the story, but the exit polls are trending in a very good way.

Monday: Birthday Wishes

Wednesday: No News Is Bad News

Friday: Expanded Bowls

Monday (6/25): New Redshirt Rule

Wednesday (6/27): Under (Center) Pressure