Temple set a school record by having four players selected in the NFL draft, with three being chosen on Saturday.
Cornerback Harrison Hand was drafted in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings. Linebacker Shaun Bradley was selected in round six by the Eagles. Fellow linebacker Chapelle Russell was chosen by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round.
Temple previously had three players selected in a single draft eight times.
On Friday, Temple center Matt Hennessy was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round. Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn said that Hennessy would play left guard in his first season, and expects Hennessy to compete for a starting spot.
Hand, who played this past season at Temple after transferring from Baylor, was the 169th overall selection. Bradley was taken 196th. Russell was selected 241st.
All four of the Temple players participated in the NFL combine.
The 5-foot-11, 197-pound Hand, a graduate of Cherry Hill West, recorded 59 tackles, three interceptions and five pass breakups. He started the first 12 games but missed Temple’s 55-13 loss to North Carolina in the Military Bowl due to injury.
At Baylor he made 42 tackles while starting nine games as a true freshman in 2017. His sophomore season was marred by injury when he appeared in 10 games, making four starts.
“I am just grateful to be part of this opportunity and I am ready to work,” Hand said in a video teleconference shortly after he was drafted.
Hand was the third cornerback selected by the Vikings. Jeff Gladney of TCU was picked with Minnesota’s second first-round pick, and Cameron Dantzler of Mississippi State was taken in the third round.
“We all will have the goal to learn the plays and get ready to work and there is going to be competition and that is what we are here for,” Hand said.
When asked if he would stay at corner or play safety, Hand said he didn’t know yet what his role would be. He did say he was proud to be part of the Temple draft tradition.
“It is great to be part of that tradition, just to be able to be drafted, going to Temple and carrying on the tradition, it is impressive,” he said.
Bradley was a star at Rancocas Valley, known more for his ability to play running back. He even carried he ball four times during his senior season at Temple.
It was an emotional moment, getting drafted by the team in his own backyard.
“I just cried, man,” he said in a video conference. “I had so many emotions, so many visions of on what I could do and what was going to happen. It was like a kid’s dream.”
Bradley, who earned his degree in adult and organization development, says he hopes this is only the beginning of his dream.
“You wait so long for this moment and it happens and it is like man I got here now what am I going to do with it,” he said. “So I immediately started thinking this can’t be it for me, I don’t want it to be a story where I just be drafted and that is it so I am ready to work.”
At Temple he played middle linebacker, but said he could play any linebacker spot. He was the second linebacker drafted by the Eagles, who selected Colorado’s Davion Taylor in the third round on Friday.
Bradley was a three-year starter at Temple, appearing in 50 games, with 38 starts. For his career he had 256 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, eight pass breakups, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, two sacks and one fumble recovery.
Bradley (6-1, 235) was a two-time first-team all-American Athletic Conference choice. He ran an impressive 4.51 40-yard dash at the combine.
This past season he led the Owls with 87 tackles, while also contributing eight tackles for loss and three pass breakups. Bradley will be familiar with the Eagles’ stadium after playing his college career at Lincoln Financial Field.
Russell (6-2, 236) was a graduate student. He tore his right ACL in both 2016 and 2017 but didn’t miss a game the last two years. This past season he was second on the team in tackles with 72.
Russel said during a video conference call with reporters that he was resigned to being a free agent and was talking to his agent about possibilities.
“As soon as they [the Buccaneers] called I had just gotten off the phone with my agent,” Russell said. “I wanted to get drafted. It’s cool being a free agent and there is no problem with that, but the feeling of being drafted is unforgettable.”
Russell will be playing for former Temple coach Bruce Arians, who he had never met. Meeting Arians was another part of a day he will always cherish.
“It feels great, it is indescribable,” he said. “I can keep going on and on about this feeling. It is amazing and everything you wanted and dream of.”
Temple is the only school outside the Power Five to have multiple players drafted five consecutive years.