Last season, the Owls’ bench lacked depth in multiple positions on both offense and defense. This year, they addressed the problem through their new transfers, said head coach Stan Drayton.
Temple University football added multiple transfers this offseason, including players from larger conferences like the Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Southeastern Conference.
Here are four players to keep an eye on that could make an immediate impact for Temple this season.
Sanders, a redshirt-senior wide receiver, spent three seasons at Georgia Tech before joining the Owls on April 22. After his first fall camp with the team, Sanders was awarded a single digit number, given to players that demonstrate great ability as a player and leader.
During the 2020 season, Sanders racked up 223 receiving yards on 17 receptions in 11 games. In 2021, he registered a career-best 362 yards on 29 receptions in 12 games for the Yellow Jackets.
After Sanders, the wide receiver depth chart remains undecided for the Owls. Sanders will serve as Temple’s clear cut top receiver, giving the Owls a much-needed reliable target out wide.
“Anything they are looking for, I can do it,” Sanders said. “Whether it is speed, route running, blocking or anything, I am a receiver that can get anything done so whatever [Drayton] has in store for me, I’ll be ready for it.”
Norwood, a redshirt-junior running back, spent the last four seasons at the University of Illinois before transferring to Temple on May 1. Despite joining the Owls after spring camp, Norwood has impressed offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf and will be in the mix for touches right away.
During his tenure with the Fighting Illini, Norwood appeared in 19 games and rushed for 244 rushing yards, averaging five yards per carry. In 2021, Norwood had his best season, accumulating 120 yards on 27 attempts, playing in nine games.
Norwood will compete with redshirt-sophomore Edward Saydee and fellow transfer Darvon Hubbard for time at running back to start the season. It’s possible that Temple maintains a running back by committee in the backfield, but Langsdorf has said if one player separates himself from the rest, the team will not be afraid to use a feature back.
“We love the type of player [Norwood] is,” Drayton said. “He brings a lot of versatility by catching the ball out of the backfield, he’s tough on contact and he has that fifth gear.”
Hubbard, a redshirt-sophomore running back, joined the Owls on Jan. 26 after spending the previous two seasons at Texas A&M University. Hubbard is a physical back who specializes in picking up yards after contact.
In his senior year of high school, Hubbard rushed for more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage on 118 touches with 11 touchdowns. Hubbard enrolled at Texas A&M as a recruit, but only had three carries during his two seasons.
Both Hubbard and Norwood will have the chance to take control of the running back room, but together they will allow the Owls to expand their playbook, Langsdorf said.
“The guys that we added are all a little different,” Langsdorf added. “When it comes to their shape and size, they are different types of players, but it is a good thing for us to have some variety back there.”
Hill, a sophomore cornerback, spent his freshman season at the University of South Carolina before transferring to Temple on Jan. 28. At six feet and 200 pounds, Hill is one of the bigger corners on the Owls’ roster, recording two solo tackles and four assisted tackles in 2021.
Hill joins a cornerback room that includes redshirt-senior Keyshawn Paul and graduate student Cameron Ruiz, who were both regular starters for the Owls last season. Hill could see time as a slot corner, but cornerbacks coach Jules Montinar believes the Owls have multiple players who could rotate in and out.
“We are very pleased with what we have seen from [Hill],” Montinar said. “He’s come in and really meshed well with our guys, brings a great attitude with him every day, he runs well so we are really excited to see what he can do this season.”