The 2005 football team’s prospects of surpassing last season’s 2-9 record got bleaker when its premier defensive player and record-breaking offensive player chose to leave for the professional ranks. Junior linebacker Rian Wallace and junior quarterback Walter Washington announced they would forgo their senior seasons and enter the NFL draft.
Wallace, a 2004 First Team All-Big East selection, had been considered a strong candidate to skip his final year even before the season began. He was a contender for a number of individual awards prior to the 2004 campaign, including the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award. He finished second in the nation with 101 total tackles.
Washington, the leading scorer among Division I-A quarterbacks, departs after the most complete offensive seasons in school history. The 240-pound battering ram became the first Owl to amass 3,000 yards and tied running back Paul Palmer’s 18-year-old school record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 15. Washington ended the season with 3,096 yards of total offense, topping the record previously held by former Owls quarterback Henry Burris.
Hoping to join his teammates in the professional ranks is defensive tackle A.J. Lindsay. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound junior saw action in 10 games last season, finishing with 29 tackles and one sack. Lindsay cited the program’s uncertain future as part of his motivation to leave.
In addition, the executive committee of the Board of Trustees announced yesterday that it will actively seek affiliation with a I-A conference.
In 2004, Temple’s affiliation with the Big East expired. The program will play an independent schedule in 2005.
The full board will meet on March 8. The coaching staff is currently on the road visiting potential recruits, indicating the program plans to continue on the I-A level.