2010's New Stars - Temple RB Bernard Pierce
Temple RB Bernard Pierce
Temple RB Bernard Pierce
Posted Mar 30, 2010

Who are the top players you need to know about going into 2010? Richard Cirminiello profiles Temple RB Bernard Pierce.

Spring Preview 2010

The Players You Need To Know

Bernard Pierce, RB Temple

By Richard Cirminiello 

12 New Superstars You Must Know About
- Boston College LB Luke Kuechly
- Connecticut RB Jordan Todman
- Iowa S Tyler Sash
- Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas
- Houston WR James Cleveland
- Navy QB Ricky Dobbs 
- TCU LB Tank Carder
- California RB Shane Vereen
- Kentucky WR Randall Cobb
- North Texas RB Lance Dunbar
- Nevada DE Dontay Moch 

Who is Bernard Pierce? … Teenagers make bonehead mistakes all the time. It's a part of their DNA. Some never recover. Others make the most of their second chances. Pierce appears headed for the latter category.

Growing up in Ardmore, Penn., Pierce ran with the wrong crowd and lacked the discipline and guidance to stay out of trouble. It cost him. A brawl at the end of his sophomore year, which neither the university nor the back chooses to discuss, forced him to Glen Mills Schools, a no-nonsense boarding school for court-adjudicated young men. And just like that, the athlete with the BCS talent would have to convince someone, anyone, that he was worth the risk and a scholarship.

Pierce found a home at Temple, a program with a checkered past of its own and an awful lot to prove. Head coach Al Golden, the architect of the Owls' rise from the ashes, saw something in Pierce that extended well beyond his athletic package of the tough inside runner with enough quicks to bounce outside the tackles and streak into the secondary. No, he noticed a young man who was eager to turn his life around and determined to escape his troubled youth. Not only was Pierce a model citizen at Glen Mills, but he voluntarily stayed a year longer than mandated, recognizing the positive impact that the stricter environment was having on his life. And just like that, the wayward teen had another chance and the floundering program had a workhorse to build an offense around.

Pierce has wasted no time rewarding Golden's confidence. A starter after a few games of his true freshman season, he led the MAC in rushing, going for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns in a jaw-dropping all-star campaign. He's doing and saying all of the right things to ensure that his past no longer has a negative impact on his future. Pierce needed Temple. Temple needed Pierce. This is one of those rare college football marriages that's so right for both sides that it almost seems too good to be true.

Bernard Pierce's best game so far was … last Halloween's trip to Annapolis. Pierce taught Navy a thing or two about the ground game, cranking out 267 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner from 41 yards out. It was the first time since Paul Palmer in 1986 that an Owl went over 200 yards in a game, and more important, gave the school enough wins to go bowling for the first time in three decades.

Why should you care about Bernard Pierce? … He's one of the best young backs in America, coming off an auspicious debut at this level. He's also the fresh face of an up-and-coming program under Al Golden that could be the MAC standard-bearer for the next few years. After one season in Philadelphia, Pierce has only scratched the surface of his potential, flashing the running ability to perennially pile up gaudy numbers for the Owls.

Positives about Bernard Pierce … Pierce is one of those unique college backs, with the top-end speed to jet through the secondary and the power to pound away at opposing defenses between the tackles. At 6-0 and 212 pounds, he's a downhill runner, who's deceptively fast and has just enough wiggle to make people miss in the open field. For such a young back, he shows nice restraint with the ball, waiting for his blocks to develop before deciding which part of the defense to exploit.

Negatives about Bernard Pierce … After injuring his shoulder in November and then again in the EagleBank Bowl versus UCLA, it was a clear sign Pierce needs to get stronger in the offseason. With an intense training program, his first at this level, he hopes to be better prepared to handle the rigors of being a 30-carry-a-game feature back. Although he has his life headed in the right direction, you always worry a little more about the kid who used to run with the wrong kids and had problems staying out of trouble.

A cool thing about Bernard Pierce you probably didn't know … Although hardly some track and field burner masquerading as a football player, Pierce does possess track speed. In fact, as a sprinter in high school, he ripped off a blistering 10.6 in the 100 meters as a junior, the fastest time in Pennsylvania in 2007.

Career Statistics
2009: 236 carries for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns