Owls veterans bring leadership and production to young team

Wide receivers Jadan Blue and Randle Jones are two of Temple’s best players who returned for the 2021 season.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Jadan Blue runs with the ball during the Owls' game against the University of South Florida at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 17. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

This offseason, 17 players transferred away from Temple University football, but two of the team’s best players returned: Jadan Blue and Randle Jones. 

“The school is family-oriented,” said Jones, a graduate student wide receiver. “I felt like I belonged here. Leave it to go somewhere else you never know what can happen. But I’m here now, and I’m just focused on this season, and I’m ready to go.” 

Jones and Blue, a redshirt-junior wide receiver, are taking leadership roles on the team by building relationships with new players and are expected to have major roles in the team’s offensive game plan for the 2021 season. 

“Being a leader is not nothing new to me, especially being a sixth-year guy,” Jones said. “I kind of know what to do. I kind of know how to work, how to know what to expect about the season.” 

Blue and Jones are building a relationship with new redshirt-freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis who transferred from the University of Georgia on Dec. 14, 2020. 

Mathis reached out to both receivers by phone when he came to Temple and the two receivers instantly offered to help him. 

“I’m just happy that we’re able to connect like, this kid has a great arm,” Blue said. “Even when the ball might not be perfect, he is always trying to improve and critique himself.”

Mathis signing with Temple is one of the reasons Blue decided to return for the 2021 season, he added. 

Jones and Mathis have built a lot of chemistry on the field this spring, Jones said. 

“I talk to those guys everyday,” Mathis said. “Here and there, I might try to go hangout with them. We are talking about different situations while we are at practice. What I could have done better, what he could have done better, always trying to improve.” 

Blue’s and Jones’ strong connection with Mathis will be important this season as both wide receivers will be important targets for Temple’s offense.

Temple’s coaching staff will try to get Jones and Blue on the field as wide receivers as much as possible, said Mike Uremovich, co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. 

Despite Temple’s struggles on offense last season, Blue led the team with 41 receptions and 381 yards while Jones finished second with 31 receptions and 370 yards. 

“Those two guys are fun to coach, man, obviously they’re really talented,” Uremovich added. “They’ve been really productive, and they are the leaders of our offense and that receiver room.” 

At practice on Wednesday, the two receivers got a chance to show their work ethic. 

The team participated in 7-on-7 drills, which included Blue and Jones running full-speed routes for 15 straight plays without a break, but they never dropped their effort, Uremovich said. 

“A lot of times, you have to stop me from going because at the end of the day, that’s what I want to do,” Blue said. “I’m going to go out there every day, and I’m going to want to play football.” 

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