Relationships mattered greatly when Malichi Lowery, a defensive back from Auburndale High School, in Florida, made an oral commitment to Temple.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior was recruited as a cornerback. He has been a starter since his sophomore season at Auburndale, which is between Tampa and Orlando.

“I really felt accepted by Temple,” Lowery said in a phone interview. “I talked to coaches every day by phone and developed a good relationship.”

As a junior, Lowery had 35 tackles with one interception and two passes defensed for an 8-3 team that earned a playoff berth while achieving its best record since 2004.

“Last season, he played mostly at corner, but he has played safety and even gotten reps at linebacker when we needed him,” Auburndale coach Kyle Sasser said by phone. “He is really a good teammate and has done what is best for the team.”

Lowery said he had 17 scholarship offers. He said Temple and Iowa State were among his final choices.

Sasser, who completed his first season as head coach after being the defensive coordinator, said he had an exclusive two-platoon team. That meant Lowery played only on defense, but he was also a member of special teams.

Sasser said he was impressed with Temple’s recruitng.

“Temple was one of the first schools to come in our school when the contact period opened, and they made a big impression on him quickly,” Sasser said.

Lowery is the third commitment for Temple’s 2021 classjoining quarterback Justin Lynch from Mount Carmel High School in Illinois and receiver Malik Cooper from St. Joseph’s Prep.

Lowery said he doesn’t know any of the Temple players but is anxious to meet them. He is also a sprinter on the track team, with a personal best of 11.3 seconds in the 100-meters.

With his decision made, Lowery said he feels a sense of relief.

“I feel very comfortable with it," Lowery said, "and I will stick with it.”