Sports

Addazio signs 21 prospects

The football team signed 21 incoming players to National Letters of Intent last week.
Temple football coach Steve Addazio announced his first signing class on Feb. 2, one full of famous lineage and dual-threat quarterbacks.…

BRAD LARRISON TTN Football coach Steve Addazio speaks with the public and media at the team’s annual National Signing Day press conference at the Howard Gittis Student Center.

The football team signed 21 incoming players to National Letters of Intent last week.

Temple football coach Steve Addazio announced his first signing class on Feb. 2, one full of famous lineage and dual-threat quarterbacks.

Addazio, who accepted the head coaching position on Dec. 23, had less than five weeks to put together a recruiting class. He managed to keep the majority of former coach Al Golden’s recruits while adding his own touch.

Addazio signed 21 recruits, 14 of who came from the tri-state area. Three of Addazio’s recruits came from Florida, an area where Addazio spent the last six years as a coach. That type of breakdown is something Addazio wants to become the norm for his staff, he said.

“Our footprint is right here in Philadelphia expanding in a five-hour radius,” Addazio said. “There are diamonds in this immediate area … We also have the ability to dive into a place like Florida and be involved with a few players each year.”

One of the more notable names in the recruiting class is Spencer Reid, a running back from Ardmore who also happens to be the son of the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid.

Spencer Reid’s brother, Britt, is also a coaching assistant on the football team. While Reid earned the scholarship on his own merit, his lineage helps, Addazio said.

“I love sons of coaches,” Addazio said. “Coaches’ sons get it. They’ve been around the game and they know the game. They’re usually so competitive. They understand what goes on behind ‚and they have the ability to work through and push through. Those guys usually do pretty well.”

Nate Smith, a linebacker who signed with the Owls last season before going to prep school, is the brother of former Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens tight end, L.J Smith. Smith is also the cousin of freshman defensive end Taray Carey.

Two quarterbacks were brought in with this year’s class and both of them possess the speed to tuck the ball in and scramble, if need be. Jalen Fitzpatrick, from Harrisburg,  Pa., played in the Big 33 game and was named First Team All-State following his senior year. The 5-foot-11-inch signal caller threw for 1,743 yards and rushed for 1,116 more in 2010.

Clint “Juice” Granger, who played at Pierce Community College in California, originally played high school ball at Philadelphia’s George Washington High School. Granger is considered the more polished quarterback in this year’s class and is expected to compete with red-shirt senior Chester Stewart, red-shirt junior Mike Gerardi and sophomore Chris Coyer for the starting quarterback position.

“[Granger had a] great desire to come back to Philadelphia, to come back to his home,” Addazio said. “He’s gone through unbelievable measures to try to get himself right so he could come to Temple. It’s a dream come true for him and his family.”

“We wanted to be able to recruit some dual-threat quarterbacks, some guys who can run and throw,” Addazio added. “We were able to recruit Jalen Fitzpatrick, a Big 33 quarterback, and Clinton Granger – two outstanding players.”

Addazio also brought in eight wide receivers, something that was necessary if the spread offense is to be implemented.

“We wanted wide receivers,” Addazio said. “We felt we had to have a large class of wide receivers for the expansion of our offense … We want to recruit size and speed – guys who can go up and get the ball in a vertical game and guys with speed that can catch those underneath routes and make people miss.”

The recruits Addazio brought in are going to help the Owls in their pursuit of goals Golden and staff could not achieve, Addazio said.

“We want to win the [Mid American Conference] East,” Addazio said. “We want to win the MAC outright. Somebody said, ‘We want to play in a bowl game.’ No, we want to win the bowl game … These players are going to help us. We want to play a brand of football that Temple and Philadelphia are going to be proud of.”

Kyle Gauss can be reached at kyle.gauss@temple.edu.

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