5 Temple Newcomers to Watch

It’s pretty hard for a newcomer, where it’s a true freshman, a redshirt freshman or a transfer to make a difference in college football these days.

The culture and the systems are usually so firmly entrenched it takes a year or two to make an impact.

Temple had at least one, running back, Ray Davis, make a big breakthrough last year and this year there could be at least five more. Not many predicted Davis would get more than 900 yards, but that’s the great thing about college football. Someone always breaks through and makes an impact.

At least five could do the same for the 2020 football Owls.

All five of them come in areas of need (kicking game, offensive line, defensive end) so we’ll just concentrate on those areas because guys like Nazir Burnett (wide receiver) and Muheem McCargo (linebacker) probably will need injuries at deep positions to get on the field and show their stuff.

Kicker (both No. 47)

Will Leyland and Rory Bell. Not much to chose between the Wilmington (Ohio) Bell and the Souderton (Pa.) Leyland so this is an interesting battle to watch. Bell was first-team all-Southeast Ohio and Leyland was on the roster of the Big 33 game as the kicker for the East team before that game was canceled. Both have pushed three-year starter Will Mobley for the starting job and, should the Owls need to kick a field goal from distance expect one of the two to get the shot. It’s been a long time since the Owls have been a threat from distance (Boomer, Austin Jones and Brandon McManus come to mind).

Offensive line

C.J. Perez (center) and Michael Niese (guard) are accomplished transfers from Northern Illinois and Dayton who should upgrade an offensive line that was battered in the 55-13 bowl loss to North Carolina. One of the reasons why it was battered was because one of the two most reliable performers, Vince Picozzi, was out with an injury. He’s back and they are here and the Owls should establish a running game that will make Anthony Russo that much more an effective passer. It will also help the passing game if these guys provide Russo with an extra second or two to throw and they should.

Defensive End

When Quincy Roche left for Miami, that meant the Owls had to replace the AAC Defensive Player of the Year and a double-digit sack guy. So the Owls dipped into the P5 and got Manny Walker out of Wake Forest. Will he get double-digit sacks? Doubtful, but if he applies enough pressure on the outside, expect NFL prospects Dan Archibong and Ifeany Maijeh to get better numbers in that area than a year ago. Roche was getting the attention last year. Walker will have to earn some of it this season.

Friday: 5 Improvements We’d Like to See

Monday: The Other October

Friday (Oct. 9): Finally, a Game Day

Sunday (Oct. 11): Game Analysis