New Temple football coach Rod Carey to quickly hit recruiting trail

Temple University introduced Rod Carey as its new football coach on the first day after the end of the NCAA’s recruiting Dead Period.

Coach Rod Carey (left) speaks at his introductory press conference on Jan. 11 at the Liacouras Center. | LUKE SMITH / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University introduced new football coach Rod Carey at a press conference at the Liacouras Center on Friday.

Carey and Temple agreed to a six-year deal at about $2 million per year with a $10 million buyout in the first two years, Athletics Committee chair J. William Mills III told The Temple News.

Carey, the former Northern Illinois University coach, now has to recruit and build a staff at Temple. The Owls already received 17 National Letters of Intent during the early signing period last month, but they can add more players during the regular period starting Feb. 6.

One of Carey’s biggest challenges will be recruiting a new area of the country with a late start, he said. Athletic director Patrick Kraft knew finding a coach who could build a staff to recruit players within a three-hour radius of Temple would be important during the hiring process.

“In recruiting, it’s about the relationships, getting someone to open the door and then being honest and truthful and continuing the work we’re doing on our program, right, winning and that’ll help,” Kraft said.

Temple introduces former Northern Illinois University coach Rod Carey as its new football coach:

Posted by The Temple News on Friday, January 11, 2019

Carey replaces Manny Diaz, who spent less than three weeks at Temple as the Owls’ coach before returning to the University of Miami.

During his brief tenure, Diaz continued some of the recruiting of his predecessor Geoff Collins. The 17 early signees feature four players — including dual-threat quarterback Kennique Bonner-Steward — ranked by Rivals as three-star recruits.

Carey still has the opportunity to recruit players to the 2019 roster. The Dead Period, which prevents coaches from having in-person contact with athletes and their parents or visiting their schools, ended on Thursday.

Football Bowl Subdivision schools are now in the midst of the Contact Period, a recruiting span that allows coaches to have up to six in-person contacts, but not more than one per week, with each student-athlete until Feb. 2.

“Tomorrow, I know we are gonna do the [men’s] basketball game and have a little staff meeting,” Carey said. “Then tomorrow at some point during the basketball game, we gotta head out and start hitting the road for recruiting, so I might be back in Philly in a few days.”  

Carey has to build a new staff because most of Temple’s coaches followed Collins to Georgia Tech. Former NIU staff members could join him at Temple, he added.

“We have done pretty well with our systems and they have done pretty well with theirs,” Carey said. “We are gonna take the best of ours and the best of theirs and merge them together. Then get the best players to work the system around the players.”

As former coaches left for Georgia Tech with Collins, Diaz started forming his staff. Gabe Infante, the former coach of St. Joseph’s Prep on Girard Avenue near 17th Street, announced last month he’ll join Temple as a defensive assistant. Temple has yet to announce Infante’s official capacity.

Fran Brown, who served as an assistant under former Temple coach Matt Rhule, returned to Philadelphia in December as the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator.

On Thursday, 247Sports reported that the next coach would have to keep Infante, Brown and Ed Foley, who has been at Temple for 11 seasons, on staff.

Carey said he has hired some coaches and is in the process of hiring others, but declined to provide further details until more is finalized. Former NIU staff members could join him at Temple, he added.

Carey is excited about the returning group of players who helped Temple finish 8-5 overall and 7-1 in American Athletic Conference play. Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Anthony Russo will enter 2019 after throwing for 2,563 yards last season. Linebacker Shaun Bradley, who finished second on the team in tackles, is entering his senior season.

“I know we have a good nucleus coming back. Four or five offensive linemen at least”, Carey added. “The quarterback got a lot better this year. I know we got all three linebackers coming back and some of the guys up front. The defense is gonna lead the way and the offense is gonna be dynamic like they were last year.”

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