Al Golden thinks the foundation is in place.
Now, he believes, the cornerstones of Temple’s football program are ready to be laid.
“There’s only one goal,” he said. “If you walk in the building, [you’ll see] it’s to win the [Mid-American Conference] title. The pitch is not going to change until we bring that trophy into Edberg-Olson Hall.”
From the Owls’ practice facility Wednesday, Golden announced the team’s 29-man recruiting class, who he believes can make that goal a reality.
In all, 25 freshmen sent in their Letters of Intent for national signing day, and another four – those from the junior-college ranks – are on board for Golden’s second season at Temple.
A young team a year ago, the Owls started the most true freshmen in the country with 22 in the lineup. In addressing the media, Golden said all 25 incoming freshmen are expected to start this season.
Among them is Daryl Robinson, a Philadelphia native who had originally committed orally to national power West Virginia. Robinson, a 5-9, 175-pounder, can play both running back and defensive back.
“Getting a young man of Daryl Robinson’s quality to be the bellcow of the city of Philadelphia is commendable,” Golden said.
Golden also spoke highly of Maryland’s Chester Stewart, the lone quarterback in this year’s class who Golden said was “clearly different” than other signal callers his staff had seen.
Other players expected to contribute are Connecticut’s Elijah and Elisha Joseph, twin brothers who played both sides of the ball in high school.
Golden used the word “dynamic” to describe Joseph Jones, a 5-11, 200-pound running back from Florida. The coach liked Jones’ size and lateral movement.
Following his hiring in December 2005, Golden and his staff had to scramble to assemble a recruiting class that would later earn a top ranking among Mid-American Conference coaches.
With a full recruiting period to harness the most talent for the upcoming campaign, Golden said he and his staff did not falter.
“The 29 players that we signed today are a culmination of really what amounts to a 14-month plan,” said Golden, who is encouraged that the turnover rate at Temple will be slim with such a young team. Only two senior scholarship players will be on this team’s roster, so close to 100 percent of the team will be retained for 2008 season.
Golden’s staff recruited heavily between Connecticut and Virginia – where all but three players were signed. New Jersey- and Pennsylvania-born players led this year’s class, with seven players from each state signing on.
“Don’t be caught in California when somebody else is coming in and stealing your guys from your backdoor,” Golden said.
Christopher A. Vito can be reached at email@example.com.