Temple football to open second preseason camp under Collins

The American Athletic Conference preseason media poll predicted the Owls to finish third in the East Division.

Redshirt-senior quarterback Frank Nutile catches the ball during Temple's first spring practice on March 13th at Chodoff Field. | EVAN EASTERLING / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University’s football team will open preseason camp on Thursday with media day at Edberg-Olson Hall.

Temple was predicted to finish third in the American Athletic Conference East Division behind South Florida and Central Florida in last week’s preseason media poll. Central Florida won last year’s conference title and finished with an undefeated record and a No. 6 ranking in the Associated Press poll.

Memphis is favored to repeat as West Division champions and take on Central Florida in a rematch of last season’s conference championship. Houston and Navy were voted to finish second and third, respectively, in the West Division. Temple will play both Houston and Navy on the road as part of its conference schedule.

The Las Vegas Superbook gives Temple, Southern Methodist and Tulane 40-1 odds to win The American’s conference championship.

Six Temple players have made preseason award watch lists. The winners of all 16 major awards will be announced in early December at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Temple has not had an award winner since linebacker Tyler Matakevich took home the Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards for outstanding defensive play in 2015.

Two Owls made watch lists last Thursday. Junior wide receiver Isaiah Wright made the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, which is given to the player who shows the most versatility in each season.

In 2017, Wright recorded 1,289 all-purpose yards. He threw for a 2-point conversion and scored receiving, rushing, punt return and kick return touchdowns.

Graduate quarterback Frank Nutile was selected to the Wuerffel Award watch list. The award is given to a player who performs community service and excels athletically and academically. Nutile also made the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is college football’s player of the year distinction.

Nutile, who did not start in 2017 until Oct. 21, carried the Owls to a 4-2 record, including a Gasparilla Bowl victory against Florida International University. In the six games he started, Nutile threw for 1,520 yards with 12 touchdowns to six interceptions.

Senior safety Delvon Randall has a chance to be the second Owl to win the Bednarik Award after making the watch list on July 16. Randall also made the Nagurski and Jim Thorpe watch lists. The Jim Thorpe Award recognizes the best defensive back in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Randall enters his third season as a starter. The 6-foot-1-inch safety recorded 80 tackles and four interceptions last season. Randall is tied for 11th in school history with eight career interceptions.

Senior running back Ryquell Armstead and redshirt-sophomore center Matt Hennessy have been named to preseason award watch lists for the second straight year.

Armstead was named to the Doak Walker watch list. The award which honors the nation’s best running back. Hennessy was added to the Rimington Trophy watch list, which is bestowed upon FBS’ top center.

Armstead dealt with recurrent hamstring and toe injuries last season, but he still managed to rush for 604 yards and score five touchdowns in 13 games. His season-high came against Army West Point, where he tallied 166 total yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Redshirt-sophomore tight end Kenny Yeboah made the watch list for the John Mackey Award, which honors the nation’s top tight end. Yeboah recorded 136 receiving yards on 14 receptions last season to lead all Temple tight ends.

Temple will begin its second year under coach Geoff Collins’ stewardship on Sept. 1 against Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field.

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