Temple Football announced the signing of 24 new players to their Early Signing Day class on Wednesday afternoon at Edberg-Olson Hall, marking the first time this season that incoming freshmen and transfers can officially sign to become a Temple Owl.
“Very excited about what our coaches and all of our supporting staff along with our current players, the sacrifices they made to help put this class together is unbelievable,” said head coach Stan Drayton. “We feel as though that we had to get quality student athletes both motivated to do great things on and off the field.”
With 21 players signing their National Letter of Intent and three incoming transfers, Temple has brought in guys on both sides of the ball who Drayton expects to compete for starting positions from day one.
“I said that we’re going to build our culture off the high school kids,” Drayton said. “Guys that we can kind of bring in and mold them to the culture.”
A few players, like defensive lineman Tyrese Whitaker and outside linebacker Jordan Montgomery, hail from the Philadelphia area while others, like three-star tight end Peter Clarke, come from as far as London, England.
Drayton was hired as head coach last December which was the official Early Signing Day. During this time last year, he was only able to bring in three guys, so reaching 24 players this early on shows the importance of having a full recruiting cycle.
“It was awesome,” Drayton said. “Being able to take over a year and develop real relationships with the parents and all of the other people involved in our prospects lives.”
The incoming defensive freshmen include defensive lineman Gensley Auguste, cornerback Kaleb Barnett, defensive lineman Conlan Greene, cornerback Ben Osueke, safety Zyil Powell, cornerback Darrell Sweeting, Montgomery and Whitaker.
“[Montgomery and Whitaker] can flat-out play football,” Drayton said of the Philly recruits. “They were of position needs that we needed to have on our defense.”
On offense, the incoming freshmen are comprised of former junior-college offensive lineman including: Diego Barajas, Clarke, wide receiver Zyheem Coleman-Frazier, wide receiver Richard Dandridge, quarterback Tyler Douglas, wide receiver Preston Everhart, wide receiver Xavier Irvin, offensive lineman Eric King, running back Joquez Smith IV, offensive lineman Kevin Terry, offensive lineman Luke Watson and running back Kyle Williams.
“Although [Smith] may be short, he is strong, he is powerful,” Drayton, a former running back’s coach, said of Smith. “He has an incredible first step, he has incredible vision.”
The transfer players who signed include defensive lineman Allan Haye from the University of Miami, running back E.J. Wilson from Florida International University and wide receiver Dante Wright from Colorado State University.
“You bring Dante into the picture, a guy who’s been through the war, has been through tough times, but has a reputation of being a guy who works his butt off, a guy that’s reliable,” Drayton said. “That is priceless for a young group of receivers coming in.”
The lone special team signee was Australian punter Dante Atton, a freshman hailing from the ProKick Australia program, an Australian-based athletic program that develops American football talent.
“They’re weapons down there,” Drayton said. “Dante is a talented, talented, Australian kicker.”
The official National Signing Day is on Feb. 1, 2023 where Temple hopes to sign four to six more players, including a few hard commits and pending transfers.