The Temple NFL Draft

toughness

About the only person who was not booed at the NFL Draft on Thursday night was from Temple University. The hometown Eagles’ pick was met with mixed boos and cheers, which was surprising. Picks of the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys were booed, as was the Commissioner, which was not.

Only Temple football was cheered, loudly and proudly.

In a city where Temple football has always been second fiddle to the pro team in town, that’s a tremendous moment.

Maybe the best.


“Temple TUFF is the
most elite, toughest,
hardest-working, people
on the planet.”
_ Haason Reddick

Haason Reddick, who was drafted No. 13 overall by the Arizona Cardinals, walked down the steps of the Art Museum to a crescendo of loud cheers and not a single boo.

Derek Barnett, the Tennessee defensive end who went next to the hometown team, was met with a scattering of boos and cheers. There were a lot of Eagles’ fans dressed in green exiting after that pick with thumbs down signs.

We’ll see what happens over the next few years but a writer could not have picked a better scenario for Reddick or a better place for him to flourish. Former Temple head coach Bruce Arians is in charge there and a couple of great former Temple assistants (Nick Rapone and Amos Jones) are among the numerous Owl connections out there.

There will be a lot of Temple stories, old and new, for Reddick to hear from and swap with the old heads.

Arians will take care of Reddick in a way that Doug Pederson could not have so, from the standpoint of a perfect fit, Reddick to Arizona is probably better than any other pick in the draft—even Myles Garrett to Cleveland at No. 1.

If Temple North is the New York Jets, then certainly Temple South is the Arizona Cardinals.

Temple Central will remain embedded in Reddick’s heart and he said it best when interviewed by Upper Dublin High School grad Suzie Kobler on ESPN when she asked him what Temple TUFF was all about. Kobler knows all about Temple having grown up across the street from Temple’s Ambler Campus.

“Temple TUFF is the most elite, toughest, hardest-working, people on the planet,” Reddick said.

Now it’s up to Geoff Collins to turn that quote and that moment into mining a 2017 recruiting class worthy of those words.

Reddick gave him a good head start with the unprecedented love.

Monday: The Other Guys

Reddick Taking It To Another Level

Coach Collins is using Reddick as an example for the rest of the squad.

To put into perspective what Haason Reddick did over the weekend, all you have to do is look what running back Bernard Pierce did in the same environment.

Reddick’s most impressive combine number was a 4.52 40-yard dash.

Coming out of the 2011 football season a year early, Pierce went into the combine and posted a 4.55 40-yard dash. This was considered good for a running back.

reddick

This was the same Bernard Pierce who was the PIAA state indoor champion in the 100-meter dash (10.8) while a senior at Glen Mills and was Pennsylvania’s version of Usain Bolt as a high school senior. Except that Bolt didn’t have Pierce’s moves in the open field.

Reddick took the combine to another level.

Reddick’s number was literally off the charts and that’s why he will be drafted anywhere from nine to 30 in the upcoming NFL draft in Philadelphia. His 40 time was one-tenth of a second faster than the Owls’ Nate Hairston, who many considered the fastest Owl last season. (You could probably get an argument from reserve wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson, who will hopefully show some explosiveness this fall when he gets on the field for the first time.)

My guess is that the number Reddick is drafted will be closer to 20 than nine or 30 and that will represent the best Temple has ever had if it happens.

Muhammad Wilkerson was a 30th-round draft pick out of the 2010 college football season and he is now considered one of the top five defensive linemen in all of football.

While offensive lineman Dion Dawkins got rave reviews coming out of the senior bowl and had a very good combine, there is more talk of him going in the second round than the first round now.

However, Mel Kiper still ranks Dawkins as his No. 1 SENIOR defensive tackle, so there’s an outside shot that Dawkins could go in the first round as well.

If that happens in a draft held in Philadelphia, that is a value from the Eagle-and-NFL-centric fourth largest market that would yield dividends down the line in areas like attendance and recruiting.

Friday: The Spring Game

Owl City Walkers

tryouts

Sometimes the memory can be a funny thing, brain teasers allowing recall in great detail of things that happen 40 years ago, but the same brain failing to tell you why you walked into a room five seconds ago.

It is with that in mind that we caution you to not take this list as the top walk-ons in Temple football history, just the top ones that we can recall at this moment.

Obviously, some are going to slip through the cracks but readers are welcome to include their own memories of Temple walk-ons below.

The subject of walk-ons comes up today simply because yesterday was the walk-on tryout date for Geoff Collins’ first team at Temple.

Here’s my list, with a heavy emphasis on the more recent ones. In a school of 39,000 students—presumably 20,000 young men—maybe at least one will turn out to be as good as these five.

matt-brown

5–Matt Brown

Because of his size (5-5, 155 pounds), no Division I school showed an interest in Brown.  He walked on at Temple, where they tried to play him at a slot receiver, but Al Golden—perhaps intrigued by Brown’s open-field moves in the return game—moved him to tailback and the rest was history. He was the bug part of the “Bernie and the Bug” pair and had to fill as a starter on the numerous occasions where Bernard Pierce was injured.  Brown’s best game was his sophomore year against Army, where he gained 228 yards scored four touchdowns.

journey

4—Aaron Boumerhi

The kicker with the appropriate nickname of “Boom-Boom” walked on at Temple after making only four field goals his senior year at Phillipsburg-Osceola. He perhaps saved the season after starting kicker Austin Jones went down as a result of a cheap shot by a Memphis player on a kickoff.  At the time, Jones had made an NCAA-best 17-straight field goals.  Arguably, Boumerhi was just as good afterward.

hayes

3—Will Hayes

Hayes returned a blocked extra point for two the other way and that was the key play in a 25-23 Temple win at Massachusetts.  The 5-9 defensive back drew interest only from Division III schools, but always dreamed of playing Division I. He took the advice of a former Howell (N.J.) teammate and played a year at Milford (N.Y.) Prep to bulk up for a possible chance.  He was a regular starting free safety on a 10-win Temple team.

screwed

2—Bruce Francis

Francis joined the program as a true freshman in the fall of 2005 as a walk-on. He later earned a scholarship. Named the recipient of the team’s inaugural Gavin White, Jr., Walk-On Award in the spring of 2006, Francis earned All-MAC honors last fall by Phil Steele Publications after averaging a team-best 73.1 receiving yards per game and finished his senior year with 13 touchdown receptions.  He was the center of one of the most controversial plays in Temple history, with replays clearly showing him catching touchdown pass to beat UConn but the Big East replay official refusing to overturn the call. At the time, Temple was in the MAC and UConn was in the Big East. Francis is the Owls’ career leader in touchdown receptions (23) and tied with Gerald “Sweet Feet” Lucear in touchdown catches for a single season (13).

1—Haason Reddick

All indications point to Reddick being a late first-round NFL draft choice and it is pretty hard for any walk-on in Temple history to top that.  Reddick started as a linebacker in Temple’s 41-21 win at Memphis to close out the 2013 season, but later earned first-team All-AAC honors as a down defensive end.