Don’t just look at the numbers.
That was the advice of Kenny Walker, the head football coach at Ashley Ridge High School in Summerville, S.C. His quarterback, Matthew Duncan, will commit to Temple on Wednesday, the beginning of the early national letter of intent signing period.
This year was a difficult season for the Swamp Foxes, who went 3-6. Duncan, a 6-foot-2, 213-pound left-hander, was guiding a young team that lost three games in which it had the lead in the fourth quarter. Three of the losses were by a touchdown or less.
“He had a big year,” Walker said of Duncan. “We ran the ball a lot more this year.”
Duncan completed 105 of 190 passes for 1,172 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed for 488 yards (4.7 per carry) and five touchdowns.
From a look at his highlight tape, Duncan has a strong arm and can throw the deep ball well, but he also had a relatively inexperienced group of receivers. Of the top four players in receptions, each was seeing regular action for the first time.
Duncan committed to the Owls in the spring, so he has long been sold on coming to Temple. He made his official visit last weekend.
“I just thought Temple was the right fit for me,” he said.
Duncan operates well in the pocket, and through the years he has continued to improve as a running threat.
“A big part of my games is my legs,” Duncan said. “If I don’t see somebody open, I know I have the option to run.”
Despite all the emphasis on the run, Duncan will depart Ashley Ridge as the school’s all-time passing yards leader. For his career, he completed 476 of 856 passes for 6,741 yards and 40 touchdowns.
The former record holder? That would be his brother Steven, who plays quarterback for Western Kentucky.
“That was a big deal for me that I got to break his record,” Duncan said.
Steven, a redshirt junior who started the Hilltoppers’ first three games before a season-ending foot injury, was Ashley Ridge’s first Football Bowl Subdivision recruit. Now Matthew is the second.
“My brother has helped me out a lot,” the younger Duncan said.
Walker feels that Duncan can prosper in a Temple offense that had a pocket passer in Anthony Russo but also utilized the dual-threat abilities of Todd Centeio, who began playing a few series per game in October.
“Watching Temple, it looks the offense really fits Matthew well,” Walker said. “He has that mentality, he is physically thick, loves the weight room, and is a competitor. They are getting a good one.”
These are the players who have signed a letter of intent with Temple football.
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 DJ Woodbury, 6-0, 182, Burlington, N.J./Burlington City
OL Miles Zietek, 6-5, 282, Georg-Christoph/Germany