Temple football had holes to fill in its starting lineup after 13 players left the program through the transfer portal last season.
Quarterback Anthony Russo transferred to Michigan State, linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley joined Boston College, and safety Christian Braswell went to Rutgers, just to name a few.
But while the Owls lost a long list of players this offseason, they also brought 10 transfers into the program from Power Five conferences, including the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12.
Among those 10 players joining the program this season were starting quarterback D’Wan Mathis (Georgia), along with potential starters Amad Anderson (Purdue) and Will Rodgers (Washington State).
With spring practices in the rear view and training camp in full swing, coaches have a clearer picture of their roster and which transfers could make an impact. Here are five players from that group who have already caught the staff’s attention.
D’Wan Mathis, QB, Freshman
Coach Rod Carey announced in the spring that D’Wan Mathis’ athleticism has separated him from the rest of the quarterbacks and named him the starter.
The Georgia transfer is a former four-star recruit and has quickly adjusted to Temple’s playbook. He can move out of the pocket and will incorporate the pro style he learned at Georgia under his former coach Kirby Smart.
“Knowing different scenarios, knowing when to run the ball, knowing situational football, it all has grown me into a better player,” Mathis said, “so I say it was an easy change.”
Mathis was forced to redshirt his freshman year at Georgia after undergoing emergency brain surgery to pass a cyst. He completed 8 of 17 passes for 55 yards during his time with the program.
Temple quarterback coach Jake Landry said he’s happy with Mathis’s progression.
“When [Mathis] has been in there, the ball has been going to the right place and the execution is pretty high,” Carey said. “I’m pretty pleased with that right now.”
Amad Anderson, WR, Sophomore
Even though Randle Jones and Jadan Blue took the first-string reps in Temple’s open practice on Aug. 20, Amad Anderson’s talent has not gone unnoticed by the coaches.
Anderson, who totaled 36 catches for 362 yards in 17 games at Purdue, said he’s been getting a lot of reps in the receiver room, and upperclassmen, like Jones and Blue, are helping him adjust.
“He’s getting better and better every day,” receiver coach Thad Ward said. “He’s familiarizing himself every day with the new terms and the new language.”
Anderson made the play of the day on Aug. 14 at practice, when he caught a slant pass and hurdled a defender for a 30-yard gain, according to the Temple football fall practice blog.
Anderson said the biggest difference in Temple’s offense is the level of opportunity he has on the field.
“If you’re making plays, then your number’s gonna get called more often in time,” Anderson said. “I’m just happy to be in an offense where it’s like that.”
Jones and Blue will start for the Owls, but Anderson could fill the third starting receiver spot with Branden Mack no longer in the program.
Cameron Ruiz, CB, Junior
Cameron Ruiz appeared in 28 games for Northwestern over three seasons, including 13 starts. He recorded 44 tackles, seven pass breakups and one interception with the Wildcats.
Ruiz has made some noise on Temple’s defensive secondary in early August. He tipped a ball in the air that was intercepted during seven-on-seven drills, according to the Temple practice blog.
Ruiz also had a diving pass deflection in the middle of the field to prevent a touchdown in practice on Aug. 17.
Keyshawn Paul, CB, Junior
Keyshawn Paul played two seasons at UConn but did not participate last season becausethe Huskies opted out of the 2020 season in response to COVID-19. In the 2019 season, Paul started all 12 games and recorded 36 tackles.
“Missing the season helped me focus on my mentals,” Paul said. “I knew all season to focus on myself and my mentals and my brain.”
Paul has made key plays in camp . He prevented a touchdown by ripping the ball out of a receiver’s hands on Aug. 16, according to the Temple practice blog.
“When [Paul] got here, the biggest thing was understanding the defense and the terminology,” said cornerbacks coach Melvin Rice. “He was able to get that under his belt in the spring along with [Ruiz]. We spent a lot of time together in the summer learning the terminology.”
Will Rodgers, DE, Senior
When Temple’s staff went looking for a defensive lineman in the portal, they wanted an upperclassmen, a player with ample experience, defensive line coach Walter Stewart said.
Will Rodgers transferred from Washington State, where he played 34 games in four seasons and totaled 53 tackles and eight sacks.
“He’s long, he’s athletic, he played a lot on the inside,” defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles said. “They moved him a lot on the inside when he was at Washington State, but he played three-technique a lot, so I knew he would be tough.”
Rodgers described Temple’s defensive line, which runs a four-man front, as a simple defense.
“We’re going to attack, we’re going to get upfield, and we’re going to play hard,” Rodgers said. “That’s the best thing I can ask for.”
Despite being new to Temple’s program, Rodgers also has offered help to the younger defensive linemen.
“D-line is d-line, we all coach each other up at the end of the day,” Rodgers said. “If I’m doing something wrong, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a fifth-string or starter.”
Rodgers has taken first-string reps and forced a couple of fumbles in training camp. He’s among a veteran group who have stood out.
“We’re going to play eight guys at least,” Knowles said, “but the guys to me who been the most consistent, and it’s no surprise it’s been some of our oldest guys, are [Rodgers], Manny Walker, [Evan Boozer].”