Finally, a Temple Fan Playing for the Owls

Every once in a while, someone says something that makes you feel like they understand exactly what another person feels and that someone yesterday was Kareem Ali Jr.

Ali said something so profound that I had to stare at the words while holding my Philadelphia Daily News: “I’m tired of seeing Temple lose. I’ve been to almost every home game since my eighth grade or seventh grade year. I know their pain. I’m tired of seeing that.”

So, for every Temple fan who wanted to go down on the field and break up that Hail Mary against Fordham or Buffalo and run a more direct route to sacking Blake Bortles, Kareem Ali Jr. is playing for us. I hope his play will be contagious and the rest of the Owls who are not from here are tired of losing, too. Many of us have the want-to for doing all of those things, Ali has the how-to.

Already, he has become my favorite Temple Owl, following in the footsteps of guys like Kenny Harper, Donny Klein, Paul Palmer and Bernard Pierce.

Temple Recruiting Last Three Years 

Year National Rank Rivals National Rank Scout Conference Rank Scout
2015 75 93 7
2014 59 74 4
2013 85 87 8

Klein might be an odd name for some, but not for me. The Temple center immediately became my favorite player when Temple played at Rutgers after getting kicked out of the Big East. The Owls trailed, 14-3, at halftime and Klein went on a profanity-filled rant: “I’ve never lost to f-ing Rutgers and I’m not about to lose to f-ing Rutgers now” pounding his helmet on the floor. Those were not empty words as Klein’s borderline fanatical blocking opened up huge holes for Tanardo Sharps in the rain and mud and Sharps gained 215 yards on 43 carries as the Owls won, 20-17. That’s the kind of fire, emotion, intensity and desire I’d like the see the Owls play with all of the time.

Those are the kinds of players Temple cannot get enough of and I have the feeling they got at least one more of those kinds of leaders yesterday.

Here are the rest:

Ryquell Armstead RB, Fr. 5-11, 205, Millville, N.J.

Jeremiah Atoki DB, Fr. 6-2, 190, Vineland, N.J.

Josiah Bronson DL, Fr. 6-5, 265, Covington, Wash.

Chapelle Cook LB, Fr. 6-1,214, Lakewood, N.J.

Jovahn Fair OL, Fr. 6-3, 283, Akron, Oh.

Jager Gardner RB, Fr. 6-2, 205, Black Mountain, N.C.

Daishaun Grimes LB, Fr. 6-2, 190, St. Cloud, Fla.

Benson Israel OL, Fr. 6-1, 316, Spring Valley, N.Y.

DeAndre Kelly DL, Fr. 6-3, 238, Hyattsville, Md.

Dana Levine DL, Fr. 6-4, 213, Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Roy Pugh TE, Fr. 6-4,196, South Orange, N.J. .

Jake Robinson TE, Fr. 6-3, 208, Haddonfield, N.J.

T.J. Simmons RB, Fr. 6-1, 195, Lakeland, Fla.

Cortrelle Simpson WR, Fr. 5-10, 175 Indian Head, Md.

Greg Webb DL, R-So. 6-1, 312, Sicklerville, N.J.

Taiyir Wilson LB, Fr. 6-2, 210, Collegeville, Pa.

Dawayne Young DL, Fr. 6-3, 280, Philadelphia, Pa.


Kareem Ali, Jr. DB, Fr. 5-11, 175, Sicklerville, N.J.

Logan Marchi QB, Fr. 6-1, 170, Bristol, Conn.

William Updegrove LB, Fr. 6-2, 230, Berwick, Pa


13 thoughts on “Finally, a Temple Fan Playing for the Owls

  1. i love this class. i think Ali & Webb can come in and help immediately. Tavon Young & Sean Chandler r the starters. Ali can kinda do what Anthony Davis did last year. i would redshirt everybody else including Simmons. let TJ get completely healthy.

    as i said in another post, this is the kinda class that a school like Temple will have to get. we r not gonna get the 5 stars. we have to get the 2&3 stars like Matakevich, Nate Smith, PJ Walker, Tavon Young and develop them. and we also have to occasionally get a 4 star recruit Ruff, Ali, AD.

    I don’t really pay attention to class rankings bcuz much like NFL drafts u can’t truly rate a class until 3 years in.

    so I’m happy and ready 2 move on to spring camp.

    • I think the rating may have been skewed by the fact that we only signed 19 in comparison to the rest of the league which signed between 21-25. You get more points per kid so Rivals having us fourth is more accurate than Scout having us seventh. the simmons signing jumped us over Navy in scout. we should be able to out-talent Navy every year.

    • Pretty much agree with regards to Ali and Webb, although I did read on the other board that as they put it, Webb may have a good deal of work to get his academics in shape on time. Don’t know how much of an issue this might be.

      For Simmons, I’m kind of torn. If he’s healthy and lives up to his billing I don’t know how you can keep him off the field, especially since a strong running game will do as much to help Walker as improved offensive line play. On the other hand I do see the sense in letting him get completely healthy. Hopefully guys like Lee and Williams come back in top shape and Thomas steps it up.

  2. Another thing: If we have 20 returning starters and we do (sorry, but Jahad should have started at tailback over Kenny, who should have been a FB) and then you have 3-4 guys who can early starting slots coming in over them, you have put yourself in a great spot. we really need Adonis Jennings, who might be every bit as good as Robbie was. I like the fact that Ali is our lead recruiter.

  3. This Jager Gardner kid looks intriguing. According to Temple’s bio on him he has astronomical rushing stats, but no one is saying anything about him. He probably went to a small school in a conference in the middle of nowhere in NC, but still – 2700 yards, 28 TDs? Seems like he could be a surprise addition. Did he have any stars?

    • I really think the RB position is going to be interesting. I like Zaire and Jahad, but to see them getting caught from behind so much was really disconcerting. It was rare (maybe never) that BP got caught from behind. Jager is every bit as good as Speedy (IMHO) and that should be a war. Ryquell is a track star with moves and that’s what the Owls need. I doubt that we will see the starting tailback for the Owls in the C and W game. May the best man win. We still need to give our RBs as many blockers as possible in front of them and that’s why I’ve been so adamant on developing a fullback position. Rob Dvoracek would be the best option for that. There has NEVER been a great running back at Temple without a great blocking fullback in front of him.

  4. PS: those stats were just his senior season and he had similar stats in his junior year.

  5. Another PS: Gardner had 36 TDs, not just 28. And he had about 250 yards and 3 TDs receiving.

  6. Love love loveeeee the recruiting class of 2015. Def a win for Temple with 2 four star recruits and a bunch more 3 stars. When these guys develop we will see some studs. Love the fact that we got 3 highly touted runnings backs. One def will be able to step.up and follow in the footsteps of previous great temple tailbacks. Should be a great and historical season in Temple football history. I for one cant wait!!!

    • If we don’t beat PSU this year, we never will. Although PSU had a far better recruiting class than us, we do have 20 returning starters and I see at least 2 guys coming off redshirts who might start and as many as 4 true freshmen. Since Tavon and Ali are so good, I can easily see them putting Tavon in the middle of the field as a free safety. Only a win over PSU would excite this town and we need to excite this town early.

  7. Jager Gardner played four games this past season with a broken hand. Kid must be tough as nails.

  8. Offensive lineman make or break a team. I wish we recruited five Donny Kleins.

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