Terrance Knighton has joined a respectable minority within Temple Athletics.
On Sunday, Knighton was chosen as the eighth pick in the third round of this year’s National Football League draft. He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars – the 72nd overall pick.
The defensive tackle is the 58th Temple football player to be drafted to the NFL. The most recent was linebacker Rian Wallace, who was drafted in 2005 by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Knighton spent three seasons under coach Al Golden, who came to Temple in 2005 after exiting coach Bobby Wallace resigned, having a record of 3-31 over the three previous seasons.
In Wallace’s final year, the Owls went 0-11, a season that was part of a 20-game losing streak. Golden broke that streak in his first season as coach, in which the Owls went 1-11.
Recent history of Temple football does not have too many positive talking points, but Knighton and Golden represent a positive, much-needed change in Temple’s football program.
During Golden’s three seasons as coach thus far, he has accumulated a record of 10-26. Statistically, the record does not exude a winning team, but it does represent progress and promise.
In previous years, the football program was the laughing stock of Temple. Golden has slowly been bringing the struggling team from its lowest points and is on track for victory.
The people and the statistics prove it. Five former Owls were on NFL rosters last season. When Golden inherited the team, the Owls’ defense was ranked 118th in the country in 2006, according to the NCAA.
One year later, the team peaked at 49th in the country in what was Golden’s second season as coach.
Golden has helped the reputation of Temple’s football team for the better. It was no easy task, as he inherited a seemingly unsalvageable team. But improvements have been made every season since he arrived, and some of his products, like Knighton, help to continue the football team’s promise.
Knighton’s drafting to the NFL serves as a reminder that the football program needs support from the Temple community. Without the cynicism the program is used to, the players and coaches can focus on building a better organization.
And that’s something in which we can all take pride.