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2014 Temple Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 6, 2014


Temple Owls 2013 ... Head Coach: Steve Addazio


Temple Owls

2013 Record: 1-10
8/31 at Notre Dame L 28-6
9/7 Houston L 22-13
9/14 Fordham L 30-29
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 at Idaho L 26-24
10/5 Louisville L 30-7
10/11 at Cincinnati L 38-20
10/19 Army W 33-14
10/26 at SMU L 59-49
11/2 at Rutgers L 23-20
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/16 UCF L 39-36
11/23 Connecticut L 28-21
11/30 at Memphis W 41-21

The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Defending the pass. The Owls are justifiably excited about the future of QB P.J. Walker, who accounted for 23 touchdowns in his first season out of high school. However, the program realizes that its dynamic rookie can’t possibly be effective from the sideline. Temple spent far too much time on defense in 2013, while getting burned for almost 300 yards a game over the top. The American is light on top-tier quarterbacks, so the Owls have no excuses for not improving in pass defense this fall.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. The offense didn’t get a whole bunch of help. OT James McHale has a 6-7 frame to grow into and become a decent starter in the near future, and guard Aaron Ruff might be the team’s best recruit for the offense, but the defense makes up for the mediocrity on O with end Michael Dogbe and tackle Freddie Booth-Lloyd two eventual starters up front. LB Brenon Thrift is a good-sized linebacker who can move, and a mix of JUCO transfers at safety and talented corners – Anthony Davis and Delvon Randall are good ones leading a big class.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 100. That Class Was Heavy On ... Running backs. Matt Rhule didn't come up with a big haul of top talents like Al Golden was able to get, and he didn't go after receivers after Steve Addazio went heavy on pass catchers over the last two years, but he came up with some nice runners in Zaire Williams and Brandon Peoples to add some more punch to the ground game in a few years. Linebacker Buddy Brown and guard Matt Barone are Big East players, but the Owls need more of them. For a program that struggles so much to crank out points, kicker Jim Cooper could be an underappreciated signing.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 53. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Steve Addazio wants a passing game, and it’s going to come from a loaded receiving corps helped by a third straight class of prospects. It’s a huge haul of targets coming in, but the running game isn’t being ignored with Montrell Dobbs a terrific talent who could fill in for the departed Bernard Pierce right away. Defensively, the secondary gets a ton of talent with safeties Sam Benjamin and Stephaun Marshall the best tandem recruited by anyone in the MAC. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 88. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. After loading up on skill players last year, the offense should be far better in a hurry. Apparently, new head man Steve Addazio wants bodies to throw to. The passing game got an instant infusion with 6-4 JUCO bomber Clinton Grainger coming in to chuck it around, and five wide receivers, highlighted by a fantastic get in Daquan Cooper and JUCO transfers Malcolm Eugene and Tyron Eugene to make plays.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 76. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Skill players. For a program that has struggled so much to put points on the board, and has had so many issues getting things moving through the air, the passing game got some special attention. Al Golden has gone big on skill guys in the past, and last year was supposed to be about the offensive line and RB Bernard Pierce turned into something special. This year, RB Myron Ross is a big thumper who should make a difference while WRs Antonio Belt and Deon Miller might be better than anyone currently on the roster. This is an instant impact class of receivers.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 90. That Class Was Heavy On ... Guards. Temple has gone heavy on skill players over the last few years, loading up on receivers and running backs last year, and it also brought in the guards. The Owls did it again with several very good prospects for the interior of the offensive line with Cody Bohler and Darryl Pringle ready-made blockers who could make an impact right away. The best prospect for the front is Kadeem Custis, a tackle.
Temple 41, at Memphis 21
Basically … Temple’s offense caught fire with Chris Coyer catching a 75-yard touchdown pass and P.J. Walker finishing with four scoring throws with three to Robbie Anderson from one, 11 and 21 yards away. The special teams got into the act, too, with Michael Felton recovering a blocked punt for a score to help the Owls pull away in the third. Memphis got three touchdowns from Sam Craft on two short runs and a ten-yard scoring catch from Paxton Lynch. The Tigers got within ten late in the third, but Temple scored ten unanswered points to close.
- Temple converted 8-of-19 third down tries and Memphis converted 2-of-12
- Temple QB P.J. Walker completed 20-of-32 passes for 328 yards and four scores with a pick.
- Memphis’ Sam Craft led the team with seven catches for 62 yards and a sore, and he ran three times for no yards and two scores.
- Temple WR Robbie Anderson caught seven passes for 96 yards and three scores.

Connecticut 28, at Temple 21
Basically … Down 21-0, Connecticut owned the second half with Casey Cochran running for a score and finding Geremy Davis for a 33-yard touchdown as part of a run of 28 unanswered points. The defense came up with the key score for the win as Yawin Smallwood returned a pick 59 yards for a score. The Owls got a touchdown run and a scoring pass from P.J. Walker and Zaire Williams ran for an 18-yard touchdown, but they turned it over three times.
- Temple outgained UConn 372 yards to 235.
- Connecticut QB Casey Cochran completed 8-of-18 passes for 111 yards and a score with a pick.
- Connecticut RB Max DeLorenzo led all rushers with 61 yards and a score on 18 carries.
- Temple QB P.J. Walker completed 26-of-46 passes for 280 yards with a score and a pick, and he ran 19 times for 32 yards and a score.

UCF 39, at Temple 36
Basically … Rannell Hall came up with a 64-yard catch in the final seconds leading to a 23-yard Shawn Moffitt field goal with no time left on the clock to help UCF escape with the tough win. Temple got four P.J. Walker touchdown passes with two to Robbie Anderson from 30 and 75 yards away, but UCF was able to keep up helped by Worton, who caught touchdown passes from four, 38 and 30 yards out, with his last one tying the game with just over a minute to play. The Knight defense forced a three-and-out, giving the ball back to the offense with 28 seconds to play leading to the wild late heroics.
- UCF WR J.J. Worton caught ten passes for 179 yards and three scores. Rannell Hall caught nine passes for 159 yards.
- Temple QB P.J. Walker completed 26-of-44 passes for 382 yards and four touchdowns with a pick. He also ran nine times for 41 yards and a score.
- Temple WR Robbie Anderson caught eight passes for 184 yards and two scores.
- UCF cranked up 657 yards of total offense. Temple came up with 518 yards.

at Rutgers 23, Temple 20, Nov. 2
Basically … Rutgers, trailing 20-16 late in the fourth quarter, stopped Temple on fourth-and-one from the Scarlet Knights’ 27. Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder stopped Temple RB Kenneth Harper for a loss of one yard. Later, on Rutgers’s final possession, quarterback Gary Nova hit receiver Leonte Carroo for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left, giving the Scarlet Knights a come-from-behind win. Rutgers scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to move to 5-3 overall, 2-2 in The American. Temple fell to 1-8 and 0-5 in the conference.
- Nova finished 27-of-38 passing for 371 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
- Temple quarterback P.J. Walker completed 21-of-31 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Temple took a 20-16 lead in the fourth quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run by Harper, who finished with 12 carries for 49 yards and one touchdown.
- Carroo caught another touchdown pass of 34 yards earlier in the fourth quarter. He finished with 7 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

at SMU 59, Temple 49, Oct. 26
Basically … SMU rallied from a 28-7 first-half deficit to topple Temple in a record-setting day for both schools. The Mustangs took the lead for good on a Chase Hover field goal with 9:49 left in the final quarter. The teams combined for more than 1,300 yards of offense, most of which came off the arms of the two quarterbacks.
- Owl QB P.J. Walker was 26-of-37 for 297 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 92 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. WR Robby Anderson caught nine of Walker's throws for a single-game Temple record 239 yards and two touchdowns.

at Temple 33, Army 14
Basically … Temple scored the first 33 points of the game as P.J. Walker threw two touchdown passes and Kenneth Harper and Zaire Williams each ran for short scores. The defense dominated the Army ground game, allowing next to nothing early and scoring on a 19-yard fumble return from Nate Smith. The Knights got into the end zone on a touchdown run and a scoring pass from Kelvin White, but it was way too late.
- Finally, Matt Rhule gets a win at Temple. Credit the defense as linebacker Tyler Matakevich and his 13 tackles and a pick led the way to frustrate the Army ground game all day. The active defensive front got to plays before they could get started, finishing with two sacks and four tackles for loss, and it was a very, very disciplined effort to get control of the game early.
- This was a frustrating game for Army. QB Angel Santiago went down with an apparent ankle injury, and while Kelvin White was effective, it was way too late. This isn’t a team built for a comeback in any way.
- This was a total disaster – Army needed this. Now at 3-5, it’s going to take three wins in the final four games to go bowling. On the plus side, Air Force, WKU, Hawaii and Navy are all beatable. They’ll have to be, but after losing to Army, this isn’t exactly the strongest of teams – everyone’s going to be looking at the Knights as the free space.
- Is this when things start to turn around for Temple? P.J. Walker plated well, and Zaire Williams was a strong runner with 94 yards and a score. If the defense can come up with more performances like this, there’s a chance to come up with wins over SMU, Connecticut and Memphis. There are still too many holes, though, to beat UCF or Rutgers.

at Cincinnati 38, Temple 20
Basically … Cincinnati turned it on with 17 unanswered points with a short touchdown run from Tion Green and a four-yard scoring catch from Anthony McClung help put it away. Temple got two touchdown passes from P.J. Walker with a 35-yarder to Jalen Fitzpatrick and an 30-yarder to Clinton Granger, but the offense fell flat with no points in the second half.
- Considering what the Bearcats have been through after the death of Ben Flick, this was a much needed win after a rocky start. The team didn’t play focused last weekend, and this week it struggled to get going but turned it on late.
- P.J. Walker is going to be the new face of Temple football, and he did a decent job early on under the defensive pressure. He completed 12-of-22 passes for 200 yards and two scores with a pick, and he ran nine times for 47 yards, but the offense didn’t move in the second half.
- Brendon Kay had a safe and effective day, completing 31-of-37 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and Tion Green was a steadying force with 18 carries for 91 yards and two scores, but it was the defense that took over. The pass rush pressure on the short passing game turned out to be the difference in the second half.
- Tyler Matakevich tried to get around the ball on every play, doing a nice job for the Temple defense against the run with 15 tackles.

Louisville 30, at Temple 7
Basically … Louisville didn’t have any problems, cranking out the first 30 points of the game with two Teddy Bridgewater touchdown passes, a two-yard Dominique Brown scoring run and three John Wallace field goals. Temple finally got on the board in the final seconds on a nine-yard Jalen Fitzpatrick touchdown catch.
- This is exactly what Louisville needed with the Rutgers showdown just a few days away on Thursday night. Teddy Bridgewater took target practice, and the defense didn’t have to break much of a sweat stopping the anemic Owl attack.
- Temple is giving it a shot. Connor Reilly completed just 3-of-7 passes for 25 yards, and P.J. Walker came in and started to move the offense a bit, and while he completed 10-of-19 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown and a pick, he also showed off a little bit of mobility. The Owls need something to work.
- The Owls actually generated a little bit of pressure on Bridgewater, but it didn’t matter too much. The Cardinals didn’t have to take too many chances with Temple not being able to show much early on. All of a sudden, it was 24-0 going into halftime and there wasn’t any passing game to make it interesting.
- Louisville has an NFL starting quarterback in Bridgewater, but at some point the gameplan should revolve more around the ground game. The backs are in place to carry the offense, and they should all be fresh considering the rotation. Sinorise Perry, Michael Dyer and Dominique Brown are cranking out yards in big chunks.

at Idaho 26, Temple 24
Basically … Idaho got up 17-3 in the first half helped by a 64-yard Richard Montgomery touchdown catch in the first, and a five-yard scoring run in the second. Down 23-10 in the fourth, Temple battled back with a 51-yard Ryan Alderman touchdown catch, and after Idaho pulled ahead with Austin Rehkow’s third field goal of the day, Kenneth Harper ran for a two-yard score to help pull the Owls within two. A few Hail Mary passes in the final moments didn’t click, and Idaho got by.
- The Vandals are playing better under Paul Petrino. It helps to play at home, but the defense is doing a better job and the passing game is starting to click better.
- Temple is having a disastrous time trying to consistently do anything right. There weren’t any turnovers, but the offense struggled to move the ball in key moments early. When needed late, the Owls made it very, very interesting.
- Chad Chalich is coming into his own. The Idaho quarterback ran for 106 yards with a few big dashes, and he threw for 310 yards with a touchdown. He was everything to the attack.
- After losing to Fordham and now Idaho, Temple is in big, big trouble. Diving into AAC play next week against Louisville, and following it up against Cincinnati, things are about to get a lot worse before they improve. If they improve. The O needs to be far more consistent to come up with any wins over the next several weeks.

Fordham 30, at Temple 29, Sept. 14
Basically … Michael Nebrich found Sam Ajala for a 29-yard touchdown with four seconds to play to tie it at 29, and Fordham pulled off the shocker with the extra point. The Rams held a 20-7 lead in the third quarter, but Temple roared back on touchdown runs from Kenneth Harper and Connor Reilly, and a Chris Coyer seven-yard touchdown catch with just over four minutes to play followed up by a two-point conversion for a six point lead. But Fordham went 71 yards in 13 plays, leading to the wild finish. Ajala went out of bounds and came back in for the grab, but upon further review, it was ruled he was pushed out and made a legal play.
- At 0-3, how can Temple recover from a painful defeat like this? The defense couldn’t get off the field late and gave up 520 total yards of Ram offense, but the Owls were put behind the eight-ball early after getting down by 13.
Is Connor Reilly back to normal? After fighting through a knee injury, he came off the bench and almost pulled out the win, and he showed why the team is different when he’s under center. He completed 7-of-8 passes for 69 yards with a score, and he even showed a little mobility with 20 yards and a touchdown.
- The Temple defense had a rough day overall, but Tyler Matakevich did what he could with 14 tackles and two tackles for loss. He was a one man wrecking crew against the Fordham running game.

Houston 22, at Temple 13, Sept. 7
Basically … Richie Leone nailed five field goals including two in the second half as Houston got by a mistake-prone Temple team. The Owls got two Kenneth Harper first half touchdown runs, but three turnovers and nine penalties were killers. Ryan Jackson put the game away for the Cougars on a ten-yard touchdown run with just over a minute to play.
- Houston moved the ball extremely well, but it had a nightmare of a time converting yards into points. Too many drives stalled as the 524 yard of total offense accounted for way too many field goals.
- Temple’s offense couldn’t find any rhythm. The running game was effective at times, but mistakes and poor play from the offensive line at times kept the attack from moving. Connor Reilly completed 20-of-32 passes for 200 yards, but he threw two picks.
- John O’Korn was far, far sharper than David Piland. O’Korn completed 23-of-31 passes for 233 yards for the Cougars, but Piland struggled completing just 6-of-17 throws.
- Temple corner Tavon Young did what he could. He gave up a few midrange plays, but he broke up three passes and came up with nine tackles. Houston linebacker Derrick Mathews was fantastic in the middle making 13 tackles.

at Notre Dame 28 … Temple 6, Aug. 31
Basically … Tommy Rees was more than fine in his first game again as the main man for the attack throwing three touchdown passes with two 32-yarders to DaVaris Daniels in the first quarter. Temple managed a one-yard Kenneth Harper touchdown run in the second, but Rees answered with a 66-yard scoring pass to Troy Niklas.
- Rees is going to have a great year. He’s a veteran in the Brian Kelly system and he knows what he’s doing. As long as he doesn’t force throws and keeps the picks to a bare minimum, he and the Irish will be fine.
- The Irish defense will have to be far stingier against Michigan after giving up a few too many yards. Notre Dame bent a little, but rarely broke with Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese each coming up with good days for the back seven. Stephon Tuitt made three tackles with a sack, but it was Prince Shembo who was the dominant force pressuring the quarterback all game long.
- Temple tried to use Connor Reilly for a little bit of everything on offense. He didn’t get much of anything going with the passing game, dinking and dunking when he had his chances, and he led the team with 65 rushing yards. That’s not a positive – he needs more help.
- Temple came up with 25 first downs to Notre Dame’s 21, but the Irish generated more big plays.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … the Owls made a return engagement to the Big East a year ago … and lived to tell about it. No, Temple didn’t contend, but it did avoid the cellar, while getting acclimated to the competition in a tougher league. Former coach Steve Addazio used a bunch of young kids, which ought to help the transition of successor Matt Rhule and his staff.

Why To Be Grouchy … there’s no end in sight to the futility on offense. Neither Chris Coyer nor Clinton Granger will frighten opposing defenses with their arms, and talented running backs Montel Harris and Matt Brown have both graduated. After being held to no more than 20 points seven times in 2012, the Owls are likely to sputter again on offense.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … the passing game. Rhule and his coaches have six months to generate a spark from a passing attack that produced just 10 touchdown passes in a dozen games. Sure, Addazio’s offense leaned heavily on the run, but the 2013 squad needs more balance, while getting TE Cody Booth and WR Jalen Fitzpatrick better involved with the offense.

Team Concerns For 2013: Do the Owls have the chops to hang around in the Big East? They won two games in their new conference, but the offense didn't work, failing to get past 20 points more than once in the final seven games. The passing game that hasn't worked for years was painfully inefficient and only averaged 121 yards per game. The secondary wasn't much better for the league's worst defense, getting toasted time and again despite getting plenty of help from a good pass rush. Both starting safeties, Vaughn Carraway and Justin Gildea, have to be replaced.

Non-Conference Games: at Notre Dame, Fordham, at Idaho, Army
Realistic Best Case Record: 6-6
Worst Case Record: 2-10
Likely Finish: 3-9

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Fordham, at Idaho, Army

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Notre Dame, Houston, Louisville, at Cincinnati, at SMU, at Rutgers, UCF, Connecticut, at Memphis

Schedule Analysis: The Owls don’t get much of a break, starting out the year at Notre Dame and then diving right into Big East play against Houston. Beating the Cougars is a must to go on a big September run with Fordham and Idaho to follow. It gets ugly fast in October with Louisville and a trip to Cincinnati in six days and road games against SMU and Rutgers making it four away games in six and three in four weeks. The slate eases up late with home games against UCF and Connecticut before finishing up with Memphis, but getting close to a winning record will be a fight.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Running backs. Matt Rhule didn't come up with a big haul of top talents like Al Golden was able to get, and he didn't go after receivers after Steve Addazio went heavy on pass catchers over the last two years, but he came up with some nice runners in Zaire Williams and Brandon Peoples to add some more punch to the ground game in a few years. Linebacker Buddy Brown and guard Matt Barone are Big East players, but the Owls need more of them. For a program that struggles so much to crank out points, kicker Jim Cooper could be an underappreciated signing.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 53. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Steve Addazio wants a passing game, and it’s going to come from a loaded receiving corps helped by a third straight class of prospects. It’s a huge haul of targets coming in, but the running game isn’t being ignored with Montrell Dobbs a terrific talent who could fill in for the departed Bernard Pierce right away. Defensively, the secondary gets a ton of talent with safeties Sam Benjamin and Stephaun Marshall the best tandem recruited by anyone in the MAC. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 88. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. After loading up on skill players last year, the offense should be far better in a hurry. Apparently, new head man Steve Addazio wants bodies to throw to. The passing game got an instant infusion with 6-4 JUCO bomber Clinton Grainger coming in to chuck it around, and five wide receivers, highlighted by a fantastic get in Daquan Cooper and JUCO transfers Malcolm Eugene and Tyron Eugene to make plays.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 76. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Skill players. For a program that has struggled so much to put points on the board, and has had so many issues getting things moving through the air, the passing game got some special attention. Al Golden has gone big on skill guys in the past, and last year was supposed to be about the offensive line and RB Bernard Pierce turned into something special. This year, RB Myron Ross is a big thumper who should make a difference while WRs Antonio Belt and Deon Miller might be better than anyone currently on the roster. This is an instant impact class of receivers.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 90. That Class Was Heavy On ... Guards. Temple has gone heavy on skill players over the last few years, loading up on receivers and running backs last year, and it also brought in the guards. The Owls did it again with several very good prospects for the interior of the offensive line with Cody Bohler and Darryl Pringle ready-made blockers who could make an impact right away. The best prospect for the front is Kadeem Custis, a tackle.

 

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