Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

NCAA transfer rule means Temple’s 2021 recruiting class may not be nearly done | National signing day

The Owls signed 17 players, which included transfer quarterback D'Wan Mathis, Georgia's starting quarterback in its season opener.

University of Georgia QB D'Wan Mathis was one of five transfers who signed with Temple at the opening of the early signing period.
University of Georgia QB D'Wan Mathis was one of five transfers who signed with Temple at the opening of the early signing period.Read moreCourtesy: University of Georgia

Temple football coach Rod Carey predicted that the college football landscape would be changing dramatically, and was he ever right.

With the NCAA expected to approve a one-time transfer rule that would allow first-time transfers immediate eligibility, the transfer portal is one crowded place these days. Temple has lost some key members who have or will soon enter the portal, but the Owls also received some expected contributors from other schools.

And as the first day of the early signing period occurred on Wednesday, Temple’s 17-member class might have been saved by transfers, probably none more high profile than redshirt freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis, who started the first game this season for current No. 10 Georgia.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Mathis was pulled before halftime after completing 8-of-17 passes for 55 yards and one interception in an opening 37-10 win over Arkansas. After that game, he kept dropping on the depth chart.

Still, the former four-star recruit from Oak Park, Mich., brings impressive credentials, as does running back Ra’Von Bonner, who rushed for 822 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first three seasons at Illinois.

» READ MORE: Former Georgia QB D’Wan Mathis announces transfer to Temple

Both players are needed more than ever since two of Temple’s top players at both positions — quarterback Anthony Russo and running back Re’Mahn Davis — hit the transfer portal.

Russo, who started 26 games for Temple, announced Wednesday on Twitter that he will play his final college football season at Michigan State.

Also on Wednesday, offensive lineman VIncent Picozzi, who made 34 starts for Temple and has one year of eligibility remaining, said that he would enter the transfer portal.

Carey said the Temple coaching staff didn’t have any inside connections to Mathis. They saw his name in the portal and began a recruiting pitch that worked.

“We started reaching out through the normal channels that we were allowed to do and he was responsive and then that’s how it grew, a simple phone call,” Carey said. “The relationship grew quickly.”

This is like recruiting a high school player with college experience since the NCAA isn’t counting this COVID season on any football player’s eligibility. So Mathis will have four years of eligibility remaining.

“He is going to compete for the quarterback job alongside other quarterbacks, but he is an outstanding young man and his family,” Carey said.

Temple’s other three transfers are redshirt sophomore receiver Amad Anderson (Purdue), junior cornerback Keyshaun Paul (UConn), and senior defensive lineman Willie Rodgers (Washington State).

The addition of Rodgers, who had eight career sacks for Washington State, will help overcome the departure of two key defensive tackles.

Carey said that redshirt senior defensive tackle Dan Archibong, who has been at Temple for five years, has decided to declare for the NFL draft. Redshirt junior Ifeanyi Maijeh announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he planned to enter the transfer portal. Maijeh was a first-team all-American Athletic Conference selection as a sophomore but didn’t have the same type of impactful season this year.

» READ MORE: Philly’s Malik Cooper excited to take his talents to Temple | National signing day

Another key member of the front seven, linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley, has also entered the transfer portal.

Of the other incoming transfers, Anderson had a strong freshman season with 31 receptions for 343 yards and three touchdowns at Purdue. But this season he had just five receptions for 31 yards and no scores.

Paul will have two years of eligibility remaining and should challenge for immediate time in the secondary.

As for the quarterback situation, Temple returns redshirt sophomores Trad Beatty and Re-al Mitchell, who had transferred this year to the Owls from Iowa State. Both played when Russo missed the final four games, two with a shoulder injury and two more while in COVID protocol.

Freshman Matt Duncan and freshman walk-on Kamal Gray, who started one game, are also quarterbacks on the roster. Mariano Valenti, a sophomore transfer from Northern Illinois who sat out this year due to NCAA transfer rules, will also be in the mix.

Add one more player to the crowded quarterback room, Justin Lynch, from Chicago’s Mount Carmel High. Carey coached his brother Jordan at Northern Illinois. In 2013, Jordan Lynch finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

» READ MORE: ‘We have dealt with COVID and quite frankly COVID won,’ says Temple football coach Rod Carey

“Obviously there is a deep relationship with the Lynches, the whole family, and we were ecstatic when he committed,” Carey said. “The ceiling is really, really high for him. He runs, he throws, I know his makeup, I know his whole family’s makeup and he has the same mindset and that is really exciting to coach.”

In order for Temple or any school to be successful, it usually has to recruit well in its backyard. The Owls signed five players from the Delaware Valley — receiver Malik Cooper of St. Joseph’s Prep, defensive back Andrew Garwo (Conwell-Egan), defensive linemen Balansama Kamara (Central) and Jordan Laudato (West Chester Henderson), and safety Corey Palmer (Camden).

Temple got in late with Palmer, who also starred at receiver for Camden as a sophomore, transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as a junior and returned to Camden his senior season.

“He’s a different dude athletically, he is one of those guys you say, he can do about anything,” Carey said about Palmer.

All coaches are happy with their signing day haul and Carey is no different.

“We have put together a great class, [but] we’re not done,” Carey said. “With the transfer portal the way it is, we will be continuing to add people as the semester goes on.”

» READ MORE: Temple LB Isaiah Graham-Mobley to enter transfer portal


Expected cornerback signees Jaylen Martin, from Tampa, Fla., and transfer Antwain Walker, from Northern Illinois, and running back Johnny Martin of Erial, NJ did not end up signing with Temple on Wednesday.

Temple’s Class of 2021

  1. Name, Pos, Ht, Wt, Hometown / Previous School

  2. Jaden Coffen, WR, 6-2, 200, Bowie, MD / St. Albans

  3. Malik Cooper, WR, 5-9, 175, Philadelphia / St. Joseph’s Prep

  4. Andrew Garwo, DB, 6-0, 175, Levittown, PA / Conwell-Egan

  5. Coleman Jeffcoat, TE, 6-4, 200, Charlotte, NC / Mallard Creek

  6. Keshaun Jones, OL, 6-5, 295, Centralia, IL / Centralia

  7. Balansama Kamara, DL, 6-4, 230, Philadelphia / Central

  8. Jordan Laudato, DL, 6-4, 240, West Chester / Henderson

  9. Justin Lynch, QB, 6-1, 210, Chicago, IL / Mount Carmel

  10. Jalen McMurray, DB, 6-0, 175, Upper Marlboro, MD / Gonzaga College HS

  11. Jimto Obidegwu, OL, 6-5, 295, Brandywine, MD / Archbishop Carroll

  12. Corey Palmer, DB, 6-0, 170, Camden, NJ / Camden

  13. Jalen Satchell, DL, 6-2, 255, Long Island, NY / The Avalon School

  1. Name, Pos, Ht, Wt, Class, Hometown / Previous School

  2. Amad Anderson, WR, 5-11, 175, r-Soph, Staten Island, NY / Purdue

  3. Ra’Von Bonner, RB, 5-11, 215, Sr, Cincinnati, OH / Illinois

  4. D’Wan Mathis, QB, 6-6, 205, r-Fr, Oak Park, MI / Georgia

  5. Keyshawn Paul, DB, 5-11, 175, Jr, Miami, FL / UConn

  6. Willie Rodgers III, DL, 6-4, 255, Sr, Saginaw, MI / Washington State