Recruiting was a bit different for Temple this season, as Temple took its efforts to a more national level.
“The Temple ‘T’ really traveled well for us,” coach Matt Rhule said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“Obviously we still stay true to our roots,” Rhule added. “13 people from Pennsylvanaia and New Jersey, but with the new conference and the new landscape, with our ability to travel in the conference with different people turning on and maybe, as painful as UCF was for us, so many people across the country seeing us play, seeing P.J. Walker, seeing Zaire Williams, seeing Tyler Matakevich, we went a little bit more national.”
The Owls had 25 players sign letters of intent for 2014, representing nine states across the country. Seven players are from Pennsylvania and six from New Jersey, while five will be coming in from Florida, two from Mississippi, and one each from Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia.
Offensive lineman Aaron Ruff was a top recruit local to Philadelphia out of Imhotep, which was important to Rhule to secure a player close to home, but he may not be ready to get on the field and be a starter from day one.
“As on offensive lineman that’s really hard to do,” Rhule said. “On the offensive line it really takes some time. I expect him to come in and compete to play, but I don’t want to put those kind of expectations on him. My whole thing is train, get here, work and compete and when you’re ready we’ll put you on the field.”
With this year’s recruiting class, Temple loaded up on the defensive side of the ball, bringing in five defensive backs in Shamir Bradfield (St. Peter’s Prep), Sean Chandler (Camden), Anthony Davis (Gateway), Khiry Lucas (Hinds Community College) and Jyquis Thomas (Plant City).
“In this conference…we’re not in our old conference, everyone’s throwing,” Rhule said. “With all the influx of new teams, even looking at East Carolina, Tulsa, this is a throwing league, so we needed to have not just two corners, but four, five, six corners in this league to compete with the teams that run the air raid, the run and shoot.”
“We tried to go out and get as many defensive backs as we could and make sure that when we go out there to play next year, that our speed matches there speed,” Rhule added. “The same is true with the pass rushers, we tried to get three or four pass rushers that could help.”
So Temple brought in defensive linemen Freddie Booth-Lloyd (Cocoa, FL), Jacob Martin (Cherokee Trail, CO) and Brenon Thrift (Gateway) and linebackers Jared Folks (Susquehanna Township) and Michael Dogbe (Parsippany Hills)
Of all the players in the recruiting class, Dogbe is a freshman that Rhule expects to have the most immediate impact.
“He’s a focused individual,” Rhule said. “That’s what you need to play as a freshman.”