When Robby Anderson took in Temple’s season-opening loss to the United States Military Academy on Friday, he was still waiting to find out if he had made an NFL roster.
On Saturday, he officially became a member of the New York Jets.
Anderson was one of three players from last year’s historic 10-4 Owls’ squad to make an NFL 53-man roster on Saturday. Defensive back Tavon Young made the Baltimore Ravens and linebacker Tyler Matakevich kept a spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In four preseason games, Anderson caught 13 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. On Thursday, Anderson snagged a 44-yard touchdown grab playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
The former Owls wide receiver missed the 2014 season after he was dismissed for academic reasons, but he came back in 2015 to catch 70 passes for 939 yards and seven touchdowns.
Matakevich, who was selected in the seventh round of April’s NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, made 15 tackles and had an interception during the Steelers’ four preseason games.
Matakevich, a Chuck Bednarik Award winner, is Temple’s all-time leader with 493 tackles. He became a fan favorite in Steelers camp, where he earned the nickname “Dirty Red.” Matakevich is listed as the backup left inside linebacker.
Young, a fourth-round selection by the Ravens, made eight tackles this preseason. He made seven interceptions in 32 starts during his Temple career. Young is currently slotted as the second-string right cornerback behind Jimmy Smith and is also listed as one of the team’s backup kick returners.
Young and Anderson made stops at Temple’s practices this summer, while Matakevich and the rest of last year’ senior class also kept in touch with coach Matt Rhule and the team.
“When guys like Tavon come back…and he tells the guys, ‘I’m starting as a rookie at the Ravens. I started and the things that we do helped me get there.’ When Robby starts a game … then the kids really buy into it,” coach Matt Rhule said in August.
With Young, Matakevich and Anderson making rosters, the number of Temple players on NFL teams almost doubled.
The three former Owls join four other Temple alumni: Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Rod Streater, Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead and Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson.
Before this year’s draft, Rhule asked his team who had played with an NFL draftee. Aside from a handful of players who had transferred or redshirted, most players in the room had not.
“There were just tons of kids in that room that never played with a guy that got drafted, so when you see Matt [Ioannidis], Tavon, Tyler get drafted, it changes your expectations,” Rhule said in August. “It no longer seems like this foreign thing.”
Offensive lineman Shahbaz Ahmed was one of the Steelers’ final cuts on Saturday. Ioannidis, a defensive lineman who was a fifth round pick by the Washington Redskins, was waived and then added to the team’s practice squad Sunday.
Offensive lineman Kyle Friend and wide receiver Brandon Shippen were both waived by the Jets and the Miami Dolphins, respectively, earlier in the summer.
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com.