Reaching for the Stars or Just Reaching?

Darian Bryant

Darian Bryant

Ronald Reagan once helped win The Cold War with a simple phrase: “Trust, but verify.” When it comes to college football recruiting, that’s as good a mantra for any fan base to follow.

It looks like Matt Rhule’s first couple of classes were the result of some pretty solid legwork, based on the fact that many of his Temple recruits were also offered by Power 5 schools. That is not so much the case this season so far.

So far,  at least for the “trust but verify” crowd, the favorite recruit of the Temple football class of 2016 has to be Darian Bryant. The offensive lineman out of Chestnut Hill Academy committed to the Owls early. He holds a unique distinction among the several early Temple commits. He turned down a Pitt offer.

I’m sure the rest of the guys are nice guys and good players, but it is comforting to know that another big-time staff saw in Bryant what Temple’s staff saw in him.

Al Golden build a solid MAC team with a simple recruiting formula: Trust the film, but also reach up and get a few guys who were wanted by the Power 5 schools. The first player he brought to Temple who fit that later criteria was a defensive back named Kee-Ayre Griffin, whose interception against Penn State would have won the 2011 game had not Mike Gerardi—unrecruited by anyone else—returned the favor with an interception of his own.

Golden also got big Mo Wilkerson, who was a two-star recruit, but for every Wilkerson he got an Adrian Robinson, who also turned down a Pitt offer.

Golden, who could sell ice cream to the Eskimos, also made some serious mistakes tied to offers made at his camp. He was saw a workout warrior, Vaughn Charlton, complete 21-straight passes in a 7-on-7 drill and offered him a scholarship on the spot. Several Southern Chester County League head coaches, who saw Charlton play against a rush, said, “say whaaaat?” when they heard Charlton got the offer. In that case, the SCCL coaches were right and Golden was wrong. Adam DiMichele, nowhere near as good in 7-on-7 as Charlton, but way better against the rush, was a much better investment of a scholarship.

Golden learned to be much more prudent in offering camp scholarships after that lesson.

Got to have a good mix of both in order to beat the big schools.  Hopefully, the Owls will pick up a few Adrian Robinson and Kee-Ayre Griffins along with these (err, also hopefully) Mo Wilkersons:

Recruit Position Height/Weight Other Offers
Kimere Brown WR/DB 5-11, 166 None
Dan Archibong DE 6-5, 245 Army, Villanova, UConn, Delaware, UMass, Stony Brook, Western Michigan
Darian Bryant OL 6-6, 295 UConn, ODU, UMass, Pitt, Towson, UConn
Kareem Gaulden DB 6-0, 187 Monmouth
D’Andre Dill DT 6-3, 295 None
Branden Mack ATH 6-5, 190 Delaware State
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30 thoughts on “Reaching for the Stars or Just Reaching?

  1. all redshirts so far.., great news on the new hire for the Athletic Dept

    • yes, now I want to see the stadium issue on the July 14 BOT agenda. No more kicking it down the road. Either commit to build a stadium fast or sign a Linc extension. I do not want to hear the words “Franklin Field” out of Theobald’s mouth ever again.

    • The big question with that scenario, which I agree pretty much leaves the AAC in a lurch, is what kind of time frame and why 2015 is critical for Temple football. The program needs to start winning big over the next 2 to 3 seasons and if a Big 12 expansion would take place as laid out in that article be in a position to attract the ACC. Seems to be several stories floating around regarding the Big 12, so it seems like the “where there’s smoke there;s fire” cliche may apply. Also, what options would there be for the AAC:
      1. Raid CUSA again
      2. Merge with the remaining MWC schools
      3. Go back to the MAC / A10 , I mean would that be any worse than what would be left of the AAC

  2. All valid points. If you read Rhulezeezara (Owlscoop.com), plenty of the Stepfords would be perfectly happy with another 6-6 saying things like “tough schedule” and “baby steps.” Err, I don’t even think a baby goes sideways. This team must go 8 wins or better, preferably better, if the BOT is to get serious about putting a stadium on the agenda or extending the Linc. If the words “Franklin Field” come out of Theobald’s mouth again, might as well padlock the E-O.

    • I read that and I’m sorry but I disagree with those folks regarding the schedule. With the returning experience on defense, 3rd year of the program, etc. this should be closer to the season Memphis had then another 6-6 year. That kind of performance 20 – 30 years ago when we were still in the BigEast the first go round and the program wouldn’t be in this precarious a position today. Outside of maybe ND there isn’t a team on the schedule we shouldn’t be competitive with, this future of this program doesn’t have the time or luxury for baby steps. Happy 4th to everyone

  3. The only way Temple should use FF is if a new stadium takes a year longer to complete, only as a short solution for a delayed building schedule. Well, the recruiting sure doesn’t look great so far, does it? And I agree JD, going back to the MAC and the A-10 wouldn’t be so bad – well maybe the MAC would be (being independent might be better), but the A-10 served Temple well and is a darn good, if not great, conference. I also think a new stadium is just too much for Temple right now for a variety of reasons. Sign the Linc contract and see where things fall while trying to improve the football program. If the AAC is going to take more hits, who knows where Temple will be sitting in a year or two anyway including the possibility of football getting worse not better. The landscape’s just too bumpy and unpredictable to spend hundreds of millions on a long-shot stadium situation.

    • No to FF, even for one day. Can’t recruit while playing there, even with the promise of a new stadium (which would be a bare-bones one). Believe it or not, the Linc is a big recruiting tool. We just need more fans. To get more fans, we need to get more wins. To get more wins, we need to get better recruits (like the ones we got in the previous classes) and then we have to coach them up.

  4. PS, Bryant looks like a solid recruit. Many of the others at least got offers from Uconn and some other Div 1-A schools but the Del St.s, Stony Brooks, Monmouths, etc. frankly, doesn’t look good at all. Why take these kids?

    • Doesn’t look good at all. For all those who say don’t worry, those are six of 25 scholarships. It’s not an unlimited amount of schollies. I never worry about number of stars but I do worry that five of six of those guys never got a sniff of interest from a Power 5 school. It would be nice to get some verification that another paid professional staff saw what MR’s staff saw.

  5. Looks like the third game against ND is not happening. The game is not on either TU’s or ND’s future schedule. The original deal called for three games with the third to be determined. Another sign that things ain’t what they seem to be.

    • hmm. stony brook and del state recruits coming to Temple. … no mention of the stadium on the 7/14/15 BOT agenda … Temple future non-conference scheduling light (in comparison to other AAC schools). … the president having the gall to mention Franklin Field …. the tea leaves are not good. But, hey, the kids we’ve signed said Temple is on the rise, so no worries.

  6. Seems like the BOT just doesn’t have a proper sense of urgency about the right things. If they really are considering a stadium why are they putzing around till it’s too late to get it done by the 2017 season? But they jump the gun on extending Rhule’s contract when it wasn’t necessary (or smart) at this time. I just don’t understand their way of thinking or rationalization.

    • Bingo. That is the crux of my complaint. Could have .. should have waited on Rhule and they pulled the trigger; could have … should have acted on stadium and they dropped the ball and it’s too late to pick it up. They have a finite time limit for a stadium. They could have waited a couple of years on Rhule. It’s almost comical if it wasn’t so sad.

  7. I’ve been a fan for 45 years (started after I graduated in 1968 and got out of the Army) really following them. In that time I’ve seen a lot of terrible football seasons but I still followed them. Younger alums just don’t know or feel the frustrations us older fans do – they’ve experienced some success in recent years and can’t understand how bad things have been for a long time. Personally, and I think many older fans feel this way, I’m sick and tired of this circus and want to demand some sustained success – it’s about time! So, to all the Rhule backers, I say things may get better but there’s no guarantees with Temple football but no matter what, I just want to have some nice seasons for more than 1-3 years at a time. Problem is the BOT seems to still be making decisions that are baffling to say the least and makes us old timers wonder if things are ever going to improve. To the younger fans, that’s where our negativism comes from, if I may speak for all the old guys. We’re just done with the BS.

  8. Owls just lost a Timber Creek recruit to ODU. The kid must have really liked the school because, allegedly, Iowa was in the mix as well.

    • I think we should hire the ODU recruiter. He seems to be involved with every one of our targets and, in this case, did more with less. … at least a lesser program.

  9. Yes, Just like in the past with other relative new-comers to Div 1-A, ODU will probably be in a bowl game while Temple is still dicking around – hope not but….. kj’s comment about the new hire in the Athletic Dept. being good: He has experience with building a new stadium. Do you think that’s why they hired him, or not? If so it’s still awfully late.

    • His first quote was that he didn’t know nothing about a new stadium. I hope he’s Sargent Schultzing it because the BOT seems to be remarkably disinterested in a stadium (as opposed to the message boards that seem obsessed with it). If it doesn’t know, he’s in lockstep with the BOT. My guess is that they brought him in to try to raise money and that he’s going to find Temple grads a lot stingier with their wallets than, say, Harvard grads. In other words, FIU north.

  10. BTW, the “trust but verify” quote (which I’m sure was not a Reagan original) is kind of an oxymoron – if you need to verify you’re not exactly trusting, are you? But let’s hope Rhule and the staff are doing a good job verifying these new recruits abilities. Maybe they’re trusting their ability to coach them up. But I hope they get some higher level kids as the process (oh, not a good word, ha, ha) goes on.

  11. Read the article you listed above Mike. Interesting that the AAC was listed as the 6th best conference – that’s good. Also, not every AAC team was listed (only 8 were) and where the heck was East Carolina, one of the better AAC teams? Temple listed as only a 1 star recruiting program, not good.

  12. So are we really judging a recruiting class in July? 8 months before signing day? Even the biggest Rhule Haters always admitted that he can at least recruit. The rosters is littered with 3/4 star recruits that Temple never got in the past. We took Kareem Ali away from Maryland. We took Anthony Davis away from Pitt. Aaron Ruff had offers all over. We got the Simmons kid away from UCLA. U guys know this already. Freddie Booth signed on Signing day as did the Simmons kid last year. Now y’all just nitpicking at anything.

    Or is this one of them “let’s attack what most people think his strength is” angles?

    if that’s the case, u wrote this article 8 months too early.

    • Temple can do better than people getting no other offers or offers from ODU, Monmouth and Delaware State. Recruit guys those people recruit and you end up being them.

  13. I used to read your blog a few years back Mike. it’s great. I’m now reconnecting with TU football.

    I wonder if the lineman is coming here because we’re losing 3 starters so he knows he may be able to start for 4 years.

    do you know any places ppl meet to watch and talk about TU football? I’ll be at some games this year but I usually go by myself. maybe you can private message me if you know how I can find fellow Temple fans to talk to about the team in person. I’m not a big fan of online “friends”

    • that’s a great question. the tailgate row is a pretty friendly place. I try to float around there and to some of the parents’ tailgates, so if you see me do not hesitate to say hello. Don’t know what I’m going to be wearing (base it on the weather and it’s a little far out to know exactly what that will be). Otherwise, just shake someone’s hand and say “I’m Ship” and most people are friendly.

  14. also, what do you think about 2015’s class? Im hoping a lineman can redshirt this yr and start next year as a freshman. Next year may be brutal at oline

    • I think the 2015 class is great; it’s the 2016 class I’m concerned about. We really need a center to step up this year as Friend’s successor and a couple of guards.

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