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.


68 thoughts on “The 5 Best Things About This Signing Class

  1. As I suggested previously, using Thomas in the slot is a no-brainer. With his quickness, the slant and passes down the seam will almost always work. Successful football requires having your best players on the field at all times. Using Thomas there will permit the Owls to have Gardner and/or Armstead on the field along with Thomas. That’s a win for the Owls especially because they could line Thomas up in an h-back position and use him on counters and reverses. It would drive defenses crazy because there are very few linebackers who could cover him one on one. On top of that, it’s a win for Thomas, who likely is too small to play running back in the pros. He was not the same after the future pros at ND mashed him.

  2. You guys talk about how Temple’s players weren’t fast enough even against Toledo. I’m curious as to how MAC schools can basically out recruit Temple by getting faster guys and consequently outplay the Owls. I mean where are their recruits coming from that Temple couldn’t swoop in and get them instead. Or are their kids so low on the star ratings Temple doesn’t pay them any attention but are actually fast and coachable? Maybe it’s the same reason Golden had the top recruiting classes in the MAC but never beat a MAC team with a winning record. That’s got to end. Got to say though, Toledo was a darn good team but losing to a MAC team, none-the-less, doesn’t look good. If Temple gets Dioubate they’d have a great year of recruiting – it’s already quite solid.

  3. Watched some of the pre-signing day program on TV and as could be expected they charted every P5 conference and top schools but stopped short of covering anything on the G5 schools/conferences even though there are 4 star recruits to talk about at the G5 level. Rigged? You bet!

  4. Mike, is the best yet to come?

  5. wow.., a gifted young man decided to stay home…, super congrats to MR for the highest ranked recruit in TUFB history.., will this get us into the Top 50?

  6. Congratulations to coach Rhule and all those associated in landing our prize recruit. With Russo,Raynor and Diaboute this definitely sends a statement to local kids that Temple is a very viable option!

    • Huge congrats to MR and the coaching staff.., think this is the best recruiting class in TUFB?

      The 2016 team will do one or more of the Big 3 – win the conference championship, win a bowl game, and finish in the Top 25.., the talent is there, the schedule is a bit softer than last year, and our sideline will out coach the far side…,

      we have to focus on putting more butts in the seats.., Temple feeds off the energy

  7. Unbelievable. Rhule worked wonders this recruiting season. There are several kids in this class who will play and contribute significantly next season and seasons to come. Too bad the corrupt politicians in this twon can’t see past their greasy palms and get behind the stadium. The fact is that TU finally has become a true rival of PSU and with continued success could surpass them in Philly especially since the Eagles aren’t going to be good for years.

    • Agreed John. It’s a bummer the Owls don’t have a marquee home game this year as I imagine those sold out PSU and ND games helped considerably in changing our image with local kids. I would at least like to see a game against Rutgers or Pitt in the mix to evidence the strength of our program against a recruiting rival but alas we’ll have to settle for Stoneybrook.

      I think the Owls need to seriously consider nixing the non D1 programs from their schedule, unless they’re embarrassing Villanova.

      • They should approach Rutgers. Give P.J. and Jahad one more chance in Piscataway. RU is just arrogant enough to think they can beat us. Have Howard and Stony Brook play that day. Love to have the Owls earn back-to-back Big 10 wins.

      • Its always about money. Offer Stonybrook and Howard money equivalent to what they would have made by playing TU and Rutgers respectively. Neither team I would think wants to be blown out. Howard was so bad last season its game against BC was shortened like a little kid’s baseball game. Neither Rutgers nor TU need wins that badly. I suspect however that Rutgers wouldn’t be that enthusiastic about the game because a loss carries more weight than a win would just like TU with Toledo.

      • I don’t see how it advances us. Play SB. Win your division, win the championship game, win what ever NY6 game isn’t a CFP game.

        Changing this one game will not change this best possible outcome next year.

      • Houston is the highest ranked “non power 5” at 40, BYU is 50, Marshall is at 60, USF 61, Memphis 62, UAB 63 and Temple 64. So Temple is 7th in non-power 5.

      • wrong, rivals doesn’t include webb use another site. to substantiate your claims

  8. Everyone here finally “trusting the process” yet? Alot different tone from the article about recruiting not living up to the season.

    • Matt, bloggers on this site tend to be super critical but are far from stupid.., passion behind every posting from folks who despise losing…., all we do is attend every game, donate as much as we can every year, and enjoy a life-long affair w/TUFB, most of us over 30 years and counting….,

      We are Temple for Life

    • “the process” is not just recruiting; it’s also gameday coaching and that part of the process was sadly lacking against Houston and Toledo. Here’s hoping that part of the process improves next year.

      • I’m not talking about the lack of coaching during games. I agree. At Boca I was yelling fire satterfield for about the whole 4th quarter. The article and comments about MR on the “Brace Yourselves” were premature. You can all put your foot in your mouth now that the class is finalized.

      • Mike your comment on 1/6/16:: “If Temple was ever going to capitilize on two 70K home crowds, plus national TV for ND and Penn State, playing on ABC in the AAC championship game, this would have been the year to bring some of that talent into the fold. Looks like we whiffed and that’s the most disappointing thing. ”

        Looks like he didn’t whif at all and is only behind herman in the AAC now.

        Foot in mouth comment.

      • see above comment below made 9:19 a.m.

      • Mike on 1/6/16 you wrote: I love Matt. I just would like to see Temple as a player for these guys other aac teams seem to routinely get and some of the Stepford fans of his not falling back on the crutch of “well, because Tyler was good, he can do no wrong.”

        After 3 years does this comment even make sense?

        foot in mouth

      • rivals, not 247.

      • rivals doesn’t have webb included

      • wrong, rivals doesn’t include webb use another site. to substantiate your claims

      • Yeah I agree some of Rhule’s game day coaching is suspect and head scratching but I believe both Houston and Toledo were better than Temple in one key area, the QB. Not saying PJ is bad just saying Houston and Toledo were much better and they made big plays because of QB play. Team speed differential was evident as well in skill positions which Rhule is trying to address. Rhule is a good recruiter, motivator and leader. I just don’t see too many adjustments on the fly if the game plan isn’t working. That being said, he is building a solid foundation for Temple to be a highly successful non p-5 school. He has brought credibility to the program and represents the university well.

    • Sorry Matt snarky doesn’t cut it. You pravda folks are like wolves just waiting to pounce when you sense weakness. The most important part of the process is winning the game. Ask Al Golden who was as good as anyone with off the field stuff and not so good at the most important aspect of his job-winning the games. The fact is that most people on this site credit when it’s due and criticize when appropriate. If they don’t win over the next couple of years the fact that this was a good recruiting class means nothing.

      • This is exactly my point you all criticized when it wasn’t appropriate. The class wasn’t finalized and you all made comments as if Herman can do it why can’t Rhule.

        It was premature on all 3 of you to say Rhule is not capitalizing on the current recruitments. Well. He did and prices you all wrong. You all still can’t come to the realization yet.

        I have no clue what this pravda crap is or what owlscoop looks like(I’m not paying a monthly subscription anywhere).

        Criticize his play calling/lack of hurry up offense is fine by me. I haven’t really seen an analysis of it yet.

        My issue is you all criticized MR about his recruiting before the recruiting was even finalized.

        A bunch of Debbie downers/ the sky is falling kind of people.

      • Great signing class but, even with the addition of Webb this morning, the objective analysis (,, isn’t as excited as we are. the highest temple was ranked was 63 by rivals and, since there are 126 fbs teams, that would put us squarely in the middle of the pack. Even Temple recently (2012, 52d) had a better-ranked class. So, once the Cherry-colored sunglasses are taken off, there is no crow to be eaten. (I am on record saying I’m thrilled with this class. When we didn’t have Russo, Dioubate and Webb, I wrote the brace yourself piece and urged us to get going on the P5 kids and that’s just what we did.)

      • John on 1/6/16 you: “’I’m perplexed by the fact that the Owls success and the excitement this season generated has not translated into a better recruiting class.”

        Foot in mouth comment.

      • Not really, because that was the case on 1/6/16. It’s not the case on 2/4/16. John never said it wouldn’t change.

      • So I can you a loser today on 2/4/16 but on 3/4/16 say otherwise and my implied argument can be because I didn’t say it would never change.

        good god do you guys actually beleive what you write?

      • No, we’re 63d in the country. Because of where we were a month ago, I’m OK with that. Still, it’s 63d or 57th and, by any definition, that’s mediocre when you have only 126 FBS schools. I would hope we get both a better start and a better finish next year.

      • Anyone in the G5 ahead of them beside houston? (BYU doesn’t count as its an independent)

      • Mike,

        247 has them at 57. Curious what outrageous number would have been acceptable?

      • Houston is the highest ranked “non power 5” at 40, BYU is 50, Marshall is at 60, USF 61, Memphis 62, UAB 63 and Temple 64. So Temple is 7th in non-power 5.

      • I’m looking at today’s; yours are yesteday’s.

      • headline of link reads:

        2016 Football Recruiting Composite Team Rankings
        Updated on 02/04/16 at 8:40 AM CST

        no, look again. actually click the link and read

      • It has webb included now. recruitment class : 26 players

    • Matt you are a fool. The fact is that recruiting was in the toilet when that stuff was written. In his interview Rhule said it came down to the wire and that he was unsure how it would was going to turn out. On top of that even with this class the Owls are 18 spots behind Houston and until these kids actually contribute, the class means nothing. Where are Zaire Williams and TJSimmons now, both of whom upped TU’s recruiting ranking in past years.

      • they why bash him back on 1/6/16? did you feel more manly doing it?

        of course you are already onto to the next stage of bashing. “let;s see if these kids even produce”

        #palm to face
        #shaking my damn head

  9. I saw where Greg Webb (remember the 4* DT who comitted to the Owls and went JUCO) signed with the Owls this evening. If that’s the case it might be the biggest news of the day and really put this class over the top. The guy is a beast and could have an immediate impact on the defensive line.

  10. What I noticed about this recruiting class is that there are 4-5 difference makers, Webb (if he makes it), Wright, Russo Dioubate and Raynor. I was a little surprised that there were only two offensive line pieces added. Perhaps they feel comfortable with the underclassmen that they have. I think the oline has been a major problem the last two years which has hurt the team’s progress.. Overall, I think Rhule and company have put together a nice class and by getting some really good local kids to stay home bodes well for the future, Temple is becoming a destination not an afterthought.

    • Looking at he current roster there are 8 freshman and sophomore offensive lineman, so you might be right that the staff is comfortable with them and they will look to add more with next year’s class.

    • They have redshirted a few OL the last few years who they feel is gonna step up.

  11. The singular thing I agree with Matt about is that it’s probably better to wait on critiqueing a recruitment class until it’s actually over, because MR often can close the deal with recruits only at the last minute – I’m sure it’s harder for Temple to get commits early when bigger programs are also in the mix for some of these kids. And by comparison, those bigger programs will get kids to commit early on in the process. Even when Temple gets higher level recruits, as in the past, some work out and some don’t – this is true in the big programs as well. Gotta say it’s hard to believe that with this class, with these kids on board, that 62 other schools did better. So I guess that’s where practice-coaching and game-day coaching makes the difference in winning or losing games, and that’s what really counts anyway.

    • Thanks Jon, That is the main point I was trying to get a cross a month agao and still am trying to do so.

      BTW its 56 schools with webb being added. Rivals doesn’t show webb being added. 247sports does show webb being added with a class of 26 recruits.

      • don’t think there will be a significant bump in either rivals or scout with webb’s addition. they signed this guy last year. He has significant academic hurdles to overcome and I hope he does overcome them. Hope doesn’t get me a bowl win,though.

  12. I like this Matt guy. i was saying the same thing months back. i thought it was too early 2 be criticizing the recruiting class (in October). Rhule has proven that he always get guys on the final day and pulls out a few surprises (Freddie Booth, TJ Simmons).

    Now to the 2016 class….i am so overjoyed. this might be Rhule’s best class. and i’m not a guy who puts a lot of stock in recruiting ratings. most of Temple’s current stars were 2/3 star recruits. but I love this class. Walls & Burton will be our Hopkins/Waters safeties of the future. I like the Bryant OL guy. he’s huge. Russo, Raynor, Doiubate are studs. and whats great is that we can redshirt most of these guys bcuz we have a bunch of redshirt freshman ready to contribute next year.

    Can’t wait for Spring practice to start.

  13. oh and the Webb signing was the icing on the cake. or should I say the cherry on top!

    • Seems the big thing with Webb is keeping him eligible academically. If things fall in place I’m really not seeing any big drop off in performance from last season’s defense.

      • Outside of the Top 30 not sure anyone should give the rankings much consideration.., with these kids signed not sure how Temple didn’t wind up in the Top 50…, think this is another bias towards P5 schools and perennial G5 bowl schools…, when is the Spring Game?

      • April 16, E-0 … hopefully it will be held in the new stadium before April, 2025 but with the city moving the goal posts on this, I doubt it.

  14. Matt is CORRECT….we are ranked 57th overall and #2 in the AAC.

    John Belli, no offense but you stated “Where are Zaire Williams and TJSimmons now, both of whom upped TU’s recruiting ranking in past years” ….that statement sort of helps the argument of trusting the process (recruiting wise)..because it shows that not every 4star works out but then you have Jahad Thomas (who’s a trust the film/process guy). So im not sure if you’re saying having 4 stars can be misleading or if you’re saying other guys can pan out better than them. But those other guys are the “trust the film” guys?

    Too much anger and bitterness here overall. Let’s enjoy this recruiting class. At least hold off on the pessimism til Spring Ball or something. Sheesh

    • confusing legitimate criticism with anger and bitterness. no anger or bitterness on my part. A little disturbed that the uni even put itself in a position to lose to a MAC school and a little perturbed that we didn’t approach the bowl game in a more businesslike fashion, but no anger or bitterness.

    • Be careful Rocket. John likes to call folks names on here if u don’t agree wit his thinking. he’s gonna tell u to go to Pravda. wherever that’s at.

      • Pravda is the place where Chairman Matt can do no wrong and taking 20 seconds off the clock on every play in the fourth quarter down 11 is shrewd coaching designed to not get blown out. That said, great day for all Temple fans and coach Rhule yesterday.

  15. Maybe the two most important signings were the renegotiation of MR’s contract and Tennessee Tech hiring Marcus Satterfield. Both of these signings should allow the Owls to continue to evolve into a top-25 program and address some of the issues raised in this string and in previous postings.

    • yes. will be interesting to see what kind of offense sat runs at TT. If he goes away from the fullback and two tight ends, we will know there is a difference between his philosophy and Matt’s. (I like the fullback and two tight ends; gave P.J. a little more time this year to throw and cut down on his interceptions.)

      • Agreed. I was underwhelmed with Satterfield during his time with the owls. You could see the growth in MR each year during his tenure. I can’t say the same for Satterfield but certainly wish him well at TT.

      • If the O line could have held up an given PJ more time there wouldn’t have been the need for a fulback and two TE. I think his (MR or satterfield) hand was forced to go with that setup. Kyle Friend getting hurt didn’t help either.

      • Matt Rhule said the fancy spread stuff was against his basic instincts and what Al built the Temple program on–tough defense, big plays on the special teams, and mostly, run the ball. I’m glad Matt went back to his basic instincts. Even with a better OL, the more blockers you can throw at the defenders, the better the run game.

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