The Impact of Karamo Dioubate

Matt Rhule gets the phone call from Karamo at the 2:15 mark.


According to a name origin website, Karamo denotes an extravagant, ambitious nature with the desire for financial prominence.

If those qualities come through at Temple for the next three years, Karamo Dioubate will use a lot of the former to get to the goal of the latter and we will all be richer for it.  One day Temple recruiting will reach the level where there will be no under-the-radar guys and a lot of ICBMs coming in with nuclear-tipped warheads every signing day.

Until then, Temple will have to settle for rolling out an occasional Atom Bomb to drop on the bad guys.


Karamo at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Temple got a couple of those weapons and, for purposes of this story, we will concentrate on the Hydrogen Bomb called Dioubate. This is just the kind of weapon along the defensive front line that the Owls need to unleash on Penn State as soon as possible and that could be as early as the second game.

He’s that good.

It’s one thing to “trust the film” but it’s quite another when the film is trusted not only by the staff at Temple, but the more highly-paid ones at Alabama, Penn State,  Michigan State and South Carolina. When it comes to Dioubate, they see what you see, a pretty polished and unstoppable lineman far advanced beyond his years. Now Dioubate will have to cram a lot of learning into a short summer camp, but he certainly has the physical tools to do it.

Imagine using Sharif
Finch and Michael
Dogbe—forced to play
out of position
last year as a
tackle—at the ends,
using the gap
leverage skills
of two-time
Pennsylvania state
heavyweight wrestling
champion Averee
Robinson as nose
guard and flanking
Arob with Greg Webb
and Dioubate at tackle

They say great coaches are the guys who build a scheme around their talent and Phil Snow is a smart enough guy to know that he’s got the physical talent to run a 5-2 scheme as opposed to last year’s 4-3.

Imagine using Sharif Finch and Michael Dogbe—forced to play out of position last year as a tackle—at the ends, using the gap leverage skills of two-time Pennsylvania state heavyweight wrestling champion Averee Robinson as nose guard and flanking Arob with Greg Webb and Dioubate at tackle. That’s a defensive line that is not only going to stop the run, but make quite a few visits to the quarterback, and make plays in the flat, ala Finch against Penn State last year. That’s not even mentioning other potential DL starters like Haason Reddick, Freddie Booth-Lloyd, Josiah Bronson and Jacob Martin (who was one of the 39,000 Temple students who had a sack against Christian Hackenberg last year).

With that accomplished, the Owls could return two starters at linebacker, Avery Williams and Stephaun Marshall, and have another LB starter, Jared Alwan, to rotate in for plays. Williams and Marshall are so tough they earned single-digit numbers and probably will do so again.  I like having two proven single-digit guys playing both linebacker positions in a 5-2.

The safeties could be a couple of guys, Delvon Randall and Nate L. Smith, who saw plenty of playing time a year ago and the corners will be Sean Chandler—the only player in the nation to return two pick 6’’s last year—and Kareem Ali Jr. (Or Artrel Foster or Nate Hairston.)

With that line making things relatively easy for the six guys behind them, it is not a huge stretch to conclude that this could be a record-setting defense next season. Every year, there are true freshmen who step onto the field and make big-time plays all over the place. Those true freshmen usually are in the SEC.

Now, with Dioubate, Temple finally has one and it opens up an extravagant, ambitious world with a rich future and a whole lot of post-game tailgates where the beer will taste like champagne.

Love to see the PSU analysts drool over a Temple recruit and the arrogance they had at the time that none of their players would decommit.

Wide Receivers Lost and Found


Win some, lose some.

The Owls lost Darnell Salomon to USF and Dae’Lun Darien to Penn State, but gained Freddie Johnson, Randle Jones and Isaiah Wright.

Time will tell, but I like that trade for a couple of reasons.


Keith Gloster

Ideally, Temple rarely has the perfect combination of receivers on the field at the same time. It happened only a couple of times in my memory. Willie Marshall was a Robbie Anderson-type wide receiver in the Bruce Arians’ Era, made all the more dangerous by a 4.3 speedster named Keith Gloster lined up in the slot. Marshall was a 6-foot-3 guy with a 37-inch vertical leap, whose specialty was catching passes in the red zone and over the middle. Gloster opened the middle for Marshall by stretching the field and going deep. A similar situation also existed in the Wayne Hardin years with Rich Drayton and Gerald “Sweet Feet” Lucear and maybe to a lesser extent far later with Bruce Francis and Travis Sheldon under Al Golden.

In the past couple of seasons, though, Temple’s been top-heavy in the same type of receivers—tall guys who are effective in the red zone but rarely stretch the field.

By all accounts, Dae’Lun is the same type of player Romond Deloatch, Anderson, Ventell Bryant and Keith Kirkwood are today–guys who are fairly reliable, have good hands, make plays over the middle but won’t necessarily stretch the field.

In Isaiah Wright, though, the Owls have a “best of both worlds” player, a guy who can make the big catch over the middle and take it to the house and, if Johnson or Jones turns out to be on the other of the field, his presence even makes Wright more dangerous. Other recruits could fill that role,  or maybe someone on the current squad, like 4.3 sprinter Cortrelle Simpson.

Temple fans will probably be following the progress of Darien from afar and Salomon from a relatively closer spot, USF. The numbers say Salomon will have the best career, but he’s had discipline and character issues that make his future far from a slam dunk. So Wright, Jones and Johnson could be just what they needed all along.

Willie Marshall and Keith Gloster should be especially proud.

Tomorrow: Karamo Dioubate

5 Under-The-Radar Guys

Matt Rhule talks about big things ahead for Temple football.

The day started at 8 a.m. with a live two-and-a-half hour show from the Edberg-Olson facility and ended with a flat tire outside of Buffalo Wild Wings in Northeast Philadelphia. As Ice Cube says when he doesn’t have to use his AK, today was a good day. Karamo Dioubate got the flat tire and that had to deflate the crowd of over 200 who came to see him. Once the tire was inflated, Dioubate—a four-star defensive lineman from Prep Charter—pumped up the crowd by announcing he would come to Temple. Just a great recruiting day for Matt Rhule and Temple.


Rivals’ updated recruiting rankings as of 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

Dioubate had offers, not just interest, from Penn State, South Carolina, Rutgers and Temple. Watching his film, it is pretty apparent that he can skip the redshirt year and go right into making plays all over the field. Dioubate, you know about. These five guys, you might not.

  1. Sam Franklin, DB, 6-3, 200

We haa a Benjamin and a Franklin now, both Sams. Franklin is coming and Benjamin is going as No. 10, Sam Benjamin, announced his was transferring to Rhode Island. Franklin is arriving from Inverness, Fla. He played at Citrus High and probably will play DB for the Owls.


  1. Shaun Bradley, LB, 6-2, 220

Bradley, unlike the other “Shawn” Bradley who made it to Philadelphia, is not 7-foot-7. Unlike that Bradley, he is very coordinated. Bradley is a mid-year enrollee who played running back and defensive back at Rancocas Valley (N.J.) High. He brings big-time speed to the LB position, as evidenced by his RB numbers his senior year at RV: 1,467 yards and 22 touchdowns.

  1. Quincy Roche, DL, 6-4, 210

Played defensive line and tight end at New Town High in Owings Mills, Md. He broke the school record in sacks with 19 and was part of the state championship team in basketball. He has the kind of size, speed and athleticism to get to the quarterback and projects as a 2017 starter.  Will have to put on some weight to play the line, so could be a redshirt candidate.

  1. Chris Tucker, DE, 6-3, 245, Jackson

Played fullback and defensive end for head coach Blake Butler at Trinity Christian Academy in Jackson, Tenn. and, as a senior, racked up 79 total tackles, 52 solo, with 16 tackles for loss. Looking at his film, he seems to instinctively come off blocks which might account for the 16 tackles in the enemy’s backfield.

  1. Steve Petrick, TE, 6-5, 230, Norwin High

Anyone who looks at a photo of Steve and former Temple tight end Steve Manieri will do a double-take. They look like the same person. On the field, they look very much like the same player. Manieri came to Temple at 6-5, but he had to spend years in the weight room to bulk up to 230. Petrick is already there. Manieri made it to the NFL. With the same kind of work ethic, this Steve can, too.

Tomorrow: The WRs Lost and Found


The 5 Best Things About This Signing Class

Isaiah Wright looks like Jerry Rice in this video.

National Signing Day is one of those days where all 126 FBS teams win and nobody fails. The kids on the tape all look like Jim Brown did before he entered Syracuse or Cam Newton did after he transferred from Blinn Junior College (Tx) to Auburn. The teams that finish in the top 10 in the recruiting rankings will point to those rankings; the teams, like Temple, who finish far outside the top 10 will tell you to trust the film. There is a lot of film to trust this year, though, and it looks like the Owls and head coach Matt Rhule will be rewarded for their tireless work ethic for at least these five reasons. As of press time, we know nothing about Karamo Dioubate, but fingers and toes are crossed.


Imhotep’s Tyliek Raynor 

  1. Speed Kills

With players like Linwood Crump (Sayerville, N.J.), Randall Jones (North Miami) and Tyliek Raynor, the Owls added the speed they seemed to lack in the Boca Raton Bowl. Depending on who holds the stopwatch, those guys have 4.3 or 4.4 speed. I don’t see No. 25 of Toledo or similar types being able to outrun these guys.

  1. Eighteen Redshirts

The Owls had the luxury of redshirting 18 players last year and it should pay off on the field this year and this class affords them the same kind of luxury. An example this coming year might be Cortrelle Simpson. The scout team MVP in 2015 (meaning only the players and coaches know how good he is), Simpson could be that 4.3 wide receiver type guy the Owls need. Think Keith Gloster in the Arians’ years or Travis Sheldon in the Golden years. In this class, the Owls could redshirt 18 or so more redshirts, including prized quarterback Anthony Russo. That theory also applies to the handful of linemen the Owls recruited, some who will be needed for starting positions in 2017.


Keyvone Bruton.

  1. Immediate Safety Help

The first recruit after the Penn State win was a safety out of Virginia named Keyvone Bruton and that name is important because he could be one of the few members of this class to earn a starting spot right out of the gate. He’s polished and comes from an area (Hampton Roads) that plays great high school football. Plus, Benny Walls (St. Joseph’s Prep) is good enough to play right away as well.

  1. Isaiah Wright Flips

Well, the Owls did not get top WR targets Dae’Lun Darien (who flipped to PSU) and Darnell Salomon (who teased them with a twitter profile pic that showed him in an Owl uniform before committing to USF), but they did get Isaiah Wright to flip from Rutgers to Temple. This is a position of need for the Owls, unless they do something daring and break Jahad Thomas out in the slot to allow Jager Gardner and Ryquell Armstead to lock in a winner-take-all struggle for the starting tailback slot. My feeling is this:  Without John Christopher, there is a need for a tough guy in the slot and Thomas is a proven tough guy who will make more explosive plays after catching the ball. The dropoff between him, Gardner, Armstead and David Hood is not so great as the one between Christopher and his potential replacements so breaking Thomas out will benefit the ball club. That leaves Wright a chance to become an immediate starter on a crowded other side that includes Ventell Bryant, Romond Deloatch and Adonis Jennings. This could work out. No truth to the rumor than Salomon decommitted after he learned the nickname “Sal The Owl” was already taken.


Anthony Russo.

  1. Bullseye For Top Target

All along, for the last two years, Anthony Russo had been the No. 1 target for the Temple coaching staff. It’s very rare that a Temple coaching staff lands its No. 1 guy. Only two coaches I know ever did. Bruce Arians targeted a wide receiver from Moscow (Pa., not Russia) named Mike Palys. Penn State also wanted him badly. Palys asked Joe Paterno if he would be allowed to play baseball. Paterno said no. Arians said yes. Later, recruiter extraordinaire Ron Dickerson targeted a quarterback named Kevin Harvey from Paulsboro, N.J. Harvey was only the Parade first-team All-American quarterback. Having seen Russo live several times and on TV a few more, I’m extremely confident Russo needs only a redshirt year to pick up where P.J. Walker left off and I could not say that about anyone else two months ago.

Groundhog Day And Temple Stadium


Theobald might want to call Ambit Architecture and have something that looks like these two photos from the outside with a view of the city from one end  from the inside (small photo below)


About 24 hours ago, Temple president Neil D. Theobald and athletic director Pat Kraft showed up at the Student Activities Center to talk about a stadium. They did not wear top hats or pull a rodent out of the cafeteria to tell if there would be six more years of stadium talk, but it certainly seemed that way.


Something like this with smaller decks built deep into the ground (entrance at the top of the first deck) and the seats on top of the field and some view of the city would be perfect.

In March of 2012, a member of Temple Board of Trustees told a long-time athletics supporter that a stadium was a “done deal.” That was at a basketball win over North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament, but that was three years ago and nothing was done in this deal.

Mark that down as three wasted years.


Now, three years later, Theobald and Kraft marked the first time any Temple officials appeared before one or two reporters to talk about it and the guess here is that by next Groundhog Day, they will still be talking and not a single shovel will break the ground. Who knows how many years after that will we eventually see a stadium at Broad and Norris. My guess is well into the next decade, if at all.


Temple has several significant hurdles to jump over, the first being “the community”, the second the city and the third the unions.

What we will hear is a lot of what we heard yesterday—a lot of loud shouting and not much in the way of intelligent discourse.  By all accounts, there were about 200 students there and 180 wanted to hear what Theo and Kraft had to say. Because 20 or so did not, every answer was shouted down. That seems to be the way discussions go nowadays. The people who do not want something do not want to hear answers to questions, only to hear themselves.


That’s unfortunate because it doesn’t help their cause, however just it might be, going forward.

Temple will hire an architectural firm at Monday’s special BOT meeting (3:30 p.m., Sullivan Hall, Feinstein Lounge) and here are just a couple of words of advice, borrowed from someone we know but will just call him “Matt.” If you are going to build a stadium, do it the right way. That means any architectural firm will have to draw a stadium that includes seatbacks (no bleachers), 3D video screens, seats right on top of the action (not sloped back), and a mostly closed bowl to maximize the noise and make it a real home field advantage for the Owls.

If the architectural firm does not deliver those things for $100 million, either increase the budget or sign a 20-year renewal at the Linc. There are no other options.

Tomorrow: The 5 Best Things About This Signing Class

Montel Aaron, We Hardly Knew Ye


When Montel Aaron committed to Temple in the middle of October, he was just what Temple football needed—a mobile quarterback who could succeed P.J. Walker as the maestro of the read option offense.

Things change, people change, programs change and the parting of Aaron and Temple is a trade that will help both ball clubs. Very rarely does Temple get its No. 1 recruiting target, and this year the Owls got their No. 1 guy when quarterback Anthony Russo committed to the Owls. (It happened just once before, when Temple recruited Parade Magazine All-American first-team quarterback Kevin Harvey.) Having both Aaron and Russo around in the same recruiting class would have been an uncomfortable dynamic. It would have fostered great competition, but one guy would have eventually won it and I’m fairly certain after watching film of both that Russo would have been that guy.


Montel Aaron’s statement

Russo was the No. 1 guy all along and, with former Matt Ryan coach Glenn Thomas now the Temple OC, look for the Matt Ryan and Anthony Russo comparisons to commence in a couple of years. Already, Trent Dilfer’s nickname for Russo is Ryan.

For Aaron to make it all the way across the country and to find himself in a strange town under those circumstances would have been a tough thing, especially if he wants to play quarterback in the NFL. Aaron’s decommit from Temple was as classy as they come and, wherever he winds up, he will have a fan for the next four years in me.

My guess it will be in Hawaii for former Temple OC Nick Rolovich, the head coach of the Rainbow Warriors. (Rolovich was Temple OC for one day, accepting the job, then reconsidering the next day to stay with Nevada.)  When Aaron and Rolovich get together, they will at least have something in common.

I hope that Temple fans never become Rutgers’ fans and badmouth every kid who becomes a decommit. The qualities that originally attracted Temple to him still exist. Montel Aaron, we hardly knew ye, but best of luck to you.

Tomorrow: Groundhog Day And Temple Stadium

Wednesday: The 5 Best Things About This Class

Waiting for The One

Linwood Crump made the play of the day on Saturday for Temple.

While it might seem like the Owls are finished with their recruiting, a couple of positive things happened for Temple football on Saturday.

One, Linwood Crump remained firm in his commitment to Temple, tweeting that he was going to spurn Rutgers’ attempt to flip him.


A tremendous statement from Linwood Crump

Two, head coach Matt Rhule was working last night on a home visit with Temple Football Forever’s No. 1 recruiting target, Prep Charter lineman Karamo Dioubate. Hopefully, the fact that Imhotep’s Tyliek Raynor and Archbishop Wood’s Anthony Russo decided to play for their city convinces Dioubate to make this the Holy Trinity year of Philadelphia marquee recruits.

In other developments, the Owls are trying to flip wide receiver Isaiah Wright from Rutgers. This remains a possibility because the Owls really need a playmaker to replace Robby Anderson. While Ventell Bryant and Romond Deloatch appear ready to take that step, the fact that they have not so far is a bit disconcerting because anyone with two eyes knew Anderson was extra special right away.

You want that one receiver that you know is extra special right away and Wright might be the right guy.

It should be an interesting next few days.