Rod Carey believes that he covered a lot of areas with his new Temple recruiting class.
The Owls signed 21 players, 18 from high school, one from junior college and two transfers.
“I am excited about this class,” the football coach said Thursday at a news conference.
What coach doesn’t say he is excited about his incoming players? Still, there is plenty of versatility in this class.
While Carey cautioned that recruits could always change positions, the class for now includes one quarterback, four safeties, four defensive tackles, three offensive linemen, three linebackers, two tight ends, two wide receivers, one defensive end, and one cornerback.
There were no running backs in the class, but Woodrow Wilson’s Muheem McCargo, who was recruited as a linebacker, has the ability to be ballcarrier, Carey said.
Freshman Re’Mahn Davis has rushed for 900 yards (5.1 average) and seven touchdowns, lessening the need for running backs. Others on the depth chart are junior Tayvon Ruley, redshirt freshmam Kyle Dobbins, and freshman Edward Saydee from Penn Charter. Plus, freshman Onasis Neely, who missed the season with a knee injury, has returned to the field, although he isn’t cleared to go full-out yet.
Of course, Temple could address the running back position during the second signing period, which will begin Feb. 5. Carey said the Owls have scholarships to add, but he wouldn’t say how many.
Seven of the players will enroll mid-year.
They are defensive tackle Nick Bagashvili, safety Trey Blair of Haverford High, offensive lineman Sam Davis, defensive tackle Darian Varner, offensive lineman Miles Zietek, and two transfers, receiver Nazir Burnett, who appeared in two games as a freshman this past season at Georgia Tech. and safety Janel Ware, a junior-college transfer from Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
The 6-5, 282-pound Zietek, from Germany, is a raw but intriguing prospect.
“I don’t think you can say anybody from Europe is not raw,” Carey said. “He has the things you look for and he looks like he weighs 215 pounds.”
That means he has room to get bigger and stronger.
The class has plenty of speed, led by Daiyaan Hawkins, a cornerback from the Haverford School.
“The dude runs a 10.3 [100 meters] and had an offer to run track at Texas but wanted to play football,” Carey said. “We’re really excited about him.”
The lone quarterback is Matt Duncan, a left-hander from Summerville, S.C., considered a dual threat.
“I must have watched five minutes of him and said that he could run our offense,” Carey said. “.. .A quarterback has to be able to throw, and he has to be able to throw it well and execute it on on time, on delivery with good footwork and have good arm strength. Past that is what is his mobility, and he is an excellent athlete."
One player who might contribute immediately is tight end Darius Pittman, a graduate transfer from Purdue who played in 24 career games with the Boilermakers.
Temple has a need at tight end since redshirt junior Kenny Yeboah, who earns his degree this month, is transferring.
Carey said it’s easier for recruits to get playing time sooner if they play skill positions. Carey cited receiver Zae Bianes of Roanoke, Va., as possibly one of those players.
Another player who could make an early impact is linebacker Kobe Wilson (5-11, 210) of Snellville, Ga. Wilson had originally committed to Memphis, but when Tigers coach Mike Norvell left for Florida State, Wilson decided to look elsewhere.
Wilson had an offer from Georgia and still decided to sign with Temple.
Temple (8-4) now turns its attention to facing North Carolina (6-6) in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Md.
Carey said that Brett Dierson has been moved to the 10th assistant coach spot, vacated when Fran Brown left for Rutgers. Dierson was associate special-teams coordinator, an off-the-field position. He will coach linebackers. Tyler Yelek, who was the linebackers coach, will move to safeties. Melvin Rice, who was safeties coach, moves over to cornerbacks, who had been coached by Brown.
Redshirt junior defensive end Quincy Roche, redshirt junior center Matt Hennessy, and freshman running back Re’Mahn Davis received all-American recognition.
Roche, the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year, was named first-team all-American by Sports Illustrated and second-team by the Sporting News, USA Today, and Pro Football Focus.
Hennessy earned second-team honors from USA Today and Pro Football Focus and was a third-team Associated Press selection.
Davis was first-team all-freshmen by ESPN and Pro Football Focus.
DL Nick Bagsashvili, 6-3, 280, Staten Island, NY/Tottenville
WR Zae Baines, 6-2, 180, Roanoke, Va./North Cross School
S Trey Blair, 5-11, 183, Havertown, Pa./Haverford High
WR Nazir Burnett, 6-1, 175, Harrisburg, Pa./Georgia Tech*
DE Dyshier Clary, 6-2, 204, Camden, N.J./Woodrow Wilson
OL Sam Davis, 6-3, 268, Geneva, Ohio/Geneva
TE James Della Pesca, 6-2, 230, Hillside, N.J./ Pascack Valley
QB Matthew Duncan, 6-1, 213, Summerville, S.C./Ashley Ridge
CB Daiyaan Hawkins, 6-1, 185, Haverford, Pa./Haverford School
LB Muheem McCargo, 5-10, 200, Camden, N.J./Woodrow Wilson
DL Demerick Morris, 6-3, 284, Chicago, Ill./Phillips Academy
S Alex Odom, 6-1, 180, Woolwich Twp., N.J./Kingsway
TE Darius Pittman, 6-3, 250, Guilford, Miss./Purdue*
OL Bryce Thoman, 6-4, 268, Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin
DL Chevez Trask, 6-4, 252, Evans, Ga./Evans
DT Darian Varner, 6-2, 248, Norfolk, Va./Maury
S Jalen Ware, 6-0, 170, Starkville, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln CC*
S Garrett Williams, 5-11, 191, Suffolk, Va./Kings Folk
LB Kobe Wilson, 5-11, 210, Snellville, Ga./Parkview
S D.J. Woodbury, 6-0, 182, Burlington, N.J./Burlington City
OL Miles Zietek, 6-5, 282, Georg-Christoph/Germany