“Champions grow stronger. They don’t atrophy.”
That is the motto in the football team’s weight room. And as of Wednesday, the team just got stronger.
With the addition of 29 recruits, the Owls hope a championship is right around the corner.
Scout.com, a recruiting Web site, ranked the class as the best in the Mid-American Conference, which the Owls will officially join this fall.
“This class is loaded with top-end talent,”
coach Al Golden said. “We’ve got a lot of playmakers in this class.”
Golden said he feels as though this class, composed of 25 freshmen and four junior
college transfers, will help improve the offense’s firepower and that the Owls are ready to win now.
“Let’s go. We’ve got our guys now,” Golden said emphatically.One of the guys Golden spoke of was Daryl Robinson of Philadelphia’s North Catholic.
Robinson, who can play an assortment of positions, kept his commitment to Temple after backing out of a verbal commitment to West Virginia last summer.
“Getting a young man of Daryl Robinson’s
quality to be the bell cow of the city of Philadelphia is commendable,” Golden said.
“This is a young man who loves Philadelphia and wanted to do something unique … and he’ll have a tremendous impact on this pro gram.”Another player Golden expects big things of is wide receiver Mike Campbell.
“Some people like to call him a sleeper,”
Golden said, “but I don’t believe there are any sleepers anymore. And I will treat him like a heck of a ballplayer. He has excellent size to play X-receiver and a tremendous work ethic.”
Golden said he is hesitant to separate last year’s recruiting class and this year’s.
“I’m almost reluctant to separate the two classes,” Golden said. “The running backs, defensive backs, wide receivers and linebackers really complement the tight ends, offensive line and quarterbacks
from last class.”
Though the Owls have had 16 consecutive
losing seasons, Golden said the members
of this class come from teams with winning
traditions. “This class has a lot of guys that handle the ball,” Golden said. “They have a lot of speed and there are a lot of guys that can score and are used to winning.”
Richie Walls, a Downingtown, Pa., native
who is another multi-position recruit, validates Golden’s claim about speed. The incoming freshman has been clocked as fast as 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Chester Stewart, the lone signal-caller, can attest the winning claim as he hails from DeMatha Catholic, which has won 12 of the last 16 conference titles.
Running back Joseph Jones, whom Golden said “was a size running back with excellent lateral mobility,” scored 25 total touchdowns last season, with 23 of them coming on the ground.
Golden said his goal is to win now and he will do whatever it takes.
“Our goal is to win this year,” he said. “So we’ll play 25 freshmen if that’s what it takes to win.” This from a coach who played 22 freshmen last year, tops in the nation. He said his goal will not change or be altered until one thing happens.
“It won’t change until we bring that trophy
in Edberg-Olson Hall,” Golden said.
Golden stressed the importance of the offensive line, which received five new faces in this class, to winning.”There is nothing more important on offense than protection of the quarterback,” he said.
“Everything starts up front and last year we were so small.”
But Golden also said the current members
of the offensive line are already preparing
to improve from last year.
“You can go outside and look at [offensive
tackle] Devin Tyler,” Golden said, “and he weighs 270 pounds. [Center Alex] Derenthal is 290 pounds after playing at 270 last year.”
Terrance McNeil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.