Steve Addazio left off where Al Golden started, with the Temple Owls finishing 9-4 and winning their first bowl game since 1979. Can Addazio coach up Junior Quarterback Chris Coyer and build off of how he ended the 2011 season? And will he allow him to run whenever there is an opening, or will he be coaxed into waiting for the pass to open up. Even with losing Bernard Pierce to the Draft, Temple shouldn’t miss a beat between Croyer and Matthew Brown. On defense, there will need to be someone to step up and offer any kind of pass rush, as there was a lack of plays being made this past season. Temple will have to outperform expectations, much like this past season if it wants to get back into the postseason, but will stand a chance if they can catch breaks in close games and Special Teams.
Chris Croyer, QB* - Chris, the Junior dual threat Quarterback will enter his first season as the starter for the Owls. Large by dual threat quarterback standards Chris is 6’3 and 230 pounds, and threw for 463 yards and 6 touchdowns in only 4 starts, but also ran for 562 yards on 69 carries and 3 touchdowns. Croyer will need to improve on his passing and decision making to have a shot at making any kind of roster in next year’s Draft or free agency.
Monel Harris, RB – Harris, the offseason transfer from Boston College, is their all time leading rusher in terms of yards (3,375) and attempts (786), and is third on the touchdown list (27). He has been named a Preseason All-American according to Phil Steele. Harris is a bit undersized at 5’9 and 210 pounds, with average speed (4.53 projected 40). He shows a lack of strength when running on the inside and shows difficulty churning his legs. To counter this, Harrell possesses a high football IQ, runs patiently, and reads cut back lanes very well, he also shows great initial burst off the line. With limited speed, he does show difficulty maintaining that initial burst and can be ran down in the open field. While he lacks inside strength, Harris is a 3 down back, who is a plus pass protector. While Harris isn’t a flashy runner, he is a solid workhorse back who could see action at the next level with his 3 down capability, however a knock on him will be his lack of speed and already heavy work load in college. Additionally, he is only playing at Temple because he was dismissed from Boston College for repeated rules violations and the fact that one of the team’s best players and their all time leading rusher broke the rules enough to get kicked off the team is going to send up a lot of red flags for NFL teams. He needs to stay out of trouble, but even then he won’t be much more than a late round draft pick if that.
Matthew Brown, RB – Matthew has been named a Preseason Second Team All-Big East player as a Special Teamer (Phil Steele). Matt is small for his position, 5’5 and only 170 pounds, but he possess track speed on the field (4.40 projected 40). Matthew will enter the season as the backup Running Back, but will see time starting throughout the year, while also starting as the Punt and Kick Returner. He ended the year with 155 carries for 916 yards and 6 touchdowns, he also had 703 yards and a touchdown on 28 returns, he also had a 10.0 punt return average. If Matthew can cap a solid season in the run game, while also showing his speed and return ability, he will be a late round selection (similar to Trindon Holliday out of Louisiana State University).
Deon Miller, WR* - The number one Receiver for the Owls this coming season, had 18 catches for 253 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is a little above average blocker but has the willingness to throw a block out there to spring whomever is running behind him. Deon, a Junior has a good frame at 6’3 and 210 pounds, but plays and looks slow (a projected 4.68 40). He doubles on Special Teams, and could be used there at the next level. Deon will need to show he can handle number one duties and stay healthy.
Martin Wallace, OT – Martin Wallace, an offseason transfer (2010) from Northeastern (program discontinued) has been named to the 4th Team All-Big East team, according to Phil Steele. The now 4 year starter, has played all games since his Freshmen year and will look to anchor the Owl’s line for his final season. The 6’6 and 310 Wallace will play Right Tackle this season (his traditional position) but with his play will determine if he can make the switch to the Left side during the offseason and Draft process. Wallace has 37 career starts and also has expierence on special teams as well. Look for his draft stock to rise, to as high as the mid rounds this coming April.
John Youboty, DL – John, the brother of 7-year veteran, Ashton, has an interesting skill set and will be a major factor on the Temple Defense. John, the 6’4 260 pound Defensive End/Tackle registered 18 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, and 2 PBUs in all 13 games (7 starts). Playing primarily as the UT in the Temple Defense, he looks to move all around the line and looks to exploit the opposing Offensive Line. Built like an edge rusher, OLB/DE depending on the system, looks to capitalize on what Mark Ingram did this past Draft, which is to present a special skill set and utilize his ability to rush and disrupt the passer. If John can run in his current projected range (4.70), look for him to move up draft boards come this April.
Levi Brown, DT* - Levi, the 6’2 and 310 pound Nose Tackle for the Owl Defense has incredible strength and uses his leverage well. He is a Second Team All-Big East selection, by Phil Steele, and started 12 times in 2011, while accumulating 23 tackles, 3.5 TFL, and 0.5 sacks. Another plugger, Levi is called on to plug and control several gaps, while allowing the Linebackers and Ends to clean up and make plays on the ball carrier. Brown also plays on Special Teams and looks to be a late round selection if he declares this year.
Justin Gildea, S – Jutin is a 2 year starter, but has played in every game for the Owls in his career. The 5’11 195 pound Safety, also plays on Special Teams. He ended his 2011 campaign with 51 tackles and 3 interceptions, while being named to Phil Steele’s 2012 Preseason Fourth-Team All-Big East Team. Justin has improved every year at Temple, and has worked on his coverage skills, but can also, and is willing to play in the box. He currently projects as a late-round/UDFA, and will have to showcase his Special Teams skills to make a team’s active roster.
Brandon McCanus, K/P – Brandon has handled both the Place Kicking and Punting duties for the Owls the past 2 seasons, but has been the team’s Place Kicker for the last 3. Phil Steele named Brandon to the Fourth-Team All-Big East team, and he is also on the 2012 Allstate Good Works Team List. In 2011 he made 50 consecutive extra points (team record), while averaging nearly 46 yards per punt. Brandon compares to a Graham Gano, K/P for Florida State, who led the team in Kicking and Punting from 2005-2008, but unlike Gano, McCanus is a late round prospect and top-5 for his position.