One of the great stories in the Bible is when the Prodigal’s Son returns.
Such was the case on Monday at Temple football practice when wide receiver Robby Anderson returned to the school for the second time.
This time all indications are that it will be to stay.
Temple coach Matt Rhule played the role of the dad and welcomed the wide receiver back with open arms.
“We missed you, big guy,” Rhule said as he gave Anderson a hug.
“I messed up, coach,” Anderson said. “I promise I’m here to stay this time.”
The last time Anderson left, he had been playing cornerback on the defensive side of the ball a year ago. He had to take care of a few personal things and came back in September. His scholarship gone, Rhule told him that he would have to earn his spot back on the team as a walk-on.
Anderson did that and more, catching nine touchdowns in the last five games for the Owls, who were a lot more competitive with him than they were without him. He and freshman quarterback P.J. Walker had a special connection, like Sonny Jurgensen to Tommy McDonald and, more recently, Adam DiMichele to Bruce Francis.
When Anderson flunked out of school in January, there appeared to be little hope that he would return for a second go-round, but a story on a North Carolina athlete staying eligible piqued Anderson’s interest to return and maybe get some better counseling on which courses to take. Some phone calls to Temple followed and the school gave him another chance.
“I figured if that North Carolina guy who wrote that paper on Rosa Parks could stay eligible, I could apply myself, too and do the same,” Anderson said.
Anderson was referring to this paper:
“We found that Robby’s course load was too ambitious,” Rhule said. “He was taking Nuclear Physics, Aerospace Studies, Russian and Biochemistry. I asked my staff who was the idiot that approved that. They said it was me. My bad.”
In his quest to return to eligibility, Anderson is enrolled in the first summer session taking courses in Art History, Communications Studies, Dance and Film, Sports Business and Media Art. The Sports Business class is being taught by Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy. If Anderson gets by Summer Sessions I and II, he will be eligible to play football in September.
“Fran owes me a favor, just sayin’,” Rhule said.
When reached for a comment, Dunphy said he was out recruiting and did not know anything about it.
One more thing.
Happy April Fool’s Day everyone.