In recent years, the tight end hasn’t been a focal point of Temple’s attack, but that could be changing if the Owls' opening loss at Navy is any indication.
In Saturday’s opener, tight end David Martin-Robinson, known to his teammates as DMR, had five receptions for 72 yards. Last season in 13 games playing in a backup role and sometimes playing alongside of Kenny Yeboah, Martin-Robinson had five receptions for 64 yards. Yeboah has since transferred to Ole Miss, opening up much more playing time for Martin-Robinson, a redshirt sophomore.
On Monday, Owls coach Rod Carey said it was Martin-Robinson’s best game at Temple. The next day, quarterback Anthony Russo agreed.
“Not only receiving, but blocking in the run game, he played great, too,” said Russo, whose team will host South Florida on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. “A lot of people don’t know that DMR was fighting some injuries last year. At one point, he had a big club on one of his hands, which I don’t know if anyone’s ever tried to catch with a club on your hand, but it’s not too easy.”
Neither is covering Martin-Robinson, especially with no club on his hand. Martin-Robinson is 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, and like Yeboah, he’s a difficult matchup for linebackers and many safeties.
“I feel like that was a good statement game for myself, like, ‘Hey I can play,’” Martin-Robinson said.
Recently, Temple has produced talented tight ends who didn’t accumulate great statistics, simply because the Owls did not utilize them as receivers.
The Owls have two former tight ends on NFL rosters. Colin Thompson plays with former Temple coach Matt Rhule in Carolina, and Chris Myarick is on the practice squad with the Miami Dolphins.
Thompson played in 13 games and had just three receptions during his senior year in 2016. As a senior in 2018, Myarick had 14 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown. That same season, Yeboah had 13 receptions for 154 yards and one touchdown in 13 games.
Last season, Yeboah had 19 receptions for 254 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games. He became a scoring threat late in the season when he had four touchdown receptions in a three-game stretch.
Still, Yeboah was never a primary target during his time at Temple. He has had an explosive beginning for Ole Miss, with 15 receptions for 355 yards and four touchdowns in his first three games.
Martin-Robinson says he and Yeboah have stayed in touch and remain good friends.
“Typically we will text every once in a while, always supporting each other on social media, too,” Martin-Robinson said. “I am happy that he’s out there and just doing his thing, and now I get a chance to do my thing too.”
Martin-Robinson, who was a receiver, running back, linebacker, safety, and return man at Hempfield High in Landisville, Pa., has always had great confidence in his ability. He just needed the chance to earn full-time reps and emerge as a key player in the offense to truly show his skill.
“In my opinion it is [getting] opportunities,” he said. “And the number of times I got targeted, I just tried to capitalize on that and just remind myself that I belong here. That’s what my coach used to tell me in high school. He said if there is ever a doubt, just remind yourself that you belong here."
He certainly showed in Temple’s opener that not only does he belong, but that the tight end could be a more potent weapon in this year’s offense.