Fresh off the most successful season in 30 years, Temple Coach Al Golden and his staff entered the offseason intent on not resting on their laurels.
Instead of sitting back and enjoying the time off before spring practice, Golden preached to his staff and players that the work was only going to get harder now that they’ve achieved some success, Golden told reporters and fans at his Signing Day press conference.
“I read somewhere that the Law of Mount Everest is that when you start to climb, and you start to elevate, the need for teamwork escalates,” Golden said. “And it does. For us, there’s not a lot of room to stand when you start winning nine games. It’s harder to breathe at the top. We have to keep going. I already told the student-athletes that this is going to be the hardest offseason we’ve ever had. It’s not the time to take a deep breath. We have a long way to go.”
To continue on the right path, recruiting is vital, Golden said. However, for the first time since he arrived in North Philadelphia, Golden has enough talent stored that he doesn’t need an incredible influx of incoming freshman to be successful.
Nonetheless, there were still some areas to improve upon from last year’s 9-4 team. On offense, wide receiver was especially important to upgrade, Golden said.
“Our focus on offense was at wide receiver,” Golden said. “I think anybody could recognize that…Deon Miller is a really good looking athlete and a great kid. Darryl Shine is another really, really dynamic player.”
Overall, the recruiting class has one glaring characteristic that links it to previous classes – local products.
“I think the thing that we’re most excited about is that we’re really staying true to our commitment to the local area,” Golden said. “22 of the signees are from within three hours of Temple University, which really fits our mold.”
In total, the Owls signed 27 athletes for their 2010 class, including the younger brother of former Philadelphia Eagle and current Baltimore Raven L.J Smith. Despite his impressive lineage, Nate Smith’s pure talent is what stood out to the staff, Golden said.
“If I had to pick the best pure football player of the group, it’s Nate Smith, hands down,” Golden said. “Offense, defense, kicks off, returns kicks. He’s a throwback.”
Numerous players from the 2010 class chose Temple over BCS offers. The most talented player is arguably Myron Ross, a running back from Wissahickon High School that originally committed to Vanderbilt, a member of the vaunted Southeasten Conference, before deciding to stay closer to home by becoming an Owl.
Another reason that the Owls have avoided getting content is that the Mid-American Conference has a history of flashes in the pan, Golden said.
“For anybody associated with Temple football to think that we’ve arrived or turned the corner is just fool’s gold,” Golden said. “You can ask Western Michigan, you can ask Bowling Green, you can ask Ball State…[They went from] nine-10 win seasons to three or four wins and no bowl games. That’s how quickly it can turn. We want to go from being a winning team to a winning program.”
“Now isn’t the time to take a deep breath,” Golden added. “Now is the the time to move forward, to push forward, to work harder and to improve.”
2010 Recruiting Class
Olaniyi Adewole LB Fr. 6-2 220 Drexel Hill, Pa.
Antonio Belt WR Fr. 5-11 157 Forestville, Md
Wyatt Benson LB Fr. 6-0 215 Philadelphia, Pa. School
Brian Burns DB Fr. 6-0 170 Bowie, Md.
Taray Carey DE Fr. 6-2 210 Whitehall, Pa
Joe Cenatiempo OL Fr. 6-7 315 Glen Mills, Pa.
Andrew Cerett P Fr. 6-5 240 Huntingdon, Pa.
Desmond Coble WR/KR Fr. 5-10 175 Richmond, Va.
Sean Daniels DE Fr. 6-3 220 Blackwood, N.J
Marquise Goods DB Fr. 5-11 175 Orange, N.J.
Elijah Grant OL Fr. 6-6 340 Piscataway, N.J.
Aaron Hush DE Fr. 6-4 265 Piscataway, N.J.
Tyler Johnson TE Fr. 6-5 240 Ringwood, N.J.
Zamel Johnson DB R-Fr. 6-0 165 Staten Island, N.Y.
Adam Metz OL Fr. 6-5 310 Hummelstown, Pa.
Deon Miller WR Fr. 6-5 205 Highland Springs, Va.
Jaimen Newman DE Fr. 6-4 250 Colonial Heights, Va.
Connor Reilly QB Fr. 6-2 180 Fairfax, Va.
Anthony Robey DB Fr. 5-10 175 Norristown, Pa.
Myron Ross RB Fr. 6-1 205 Ambler, Pa.
Darryl Shine WR/KR Jr. 5-10 185 Orlando, Fla.
Gerald Silvera WR Fr. 6-0 180 West Orange, N.J.
Nate Smith LB Fr. 6-0 220 Highland Park, N.J/
Rod Streater WR Jr. 6-4 185 Burlington, N.J.
Martin Wallace OL R-So. 6-6 295 New York, N.Y.
Hershey Walton OL Fr. 6-4 320 Reading, Pa.
Dante Weaver DT Fr. 6-2 320 New Brunswick, N.J.
Kyle Gauss can be reached at email@example.com