While Temple football coach Matt Rhule usually doesn't single out freshmen, his admiration for wide receiver Isaiah Wright has been a recurring theme since training camp began on Aug. 6.
Reporters don't get to view much of practice, but Rhule singles out Wright almost every time he speaks to the press.
Now it appears that Wright can do more than just catch passes. Rhule said after Friday's workout that the 6-foot-2, 207-pound product of Connecticut's Kingswood-Oxford High is also working as a running back.
"Isaiah Wright is a kid we have been playing at wide receiver and running back, and you can tell he is going to be a special player," Rhule said.
Rhule also mentioned that Wright has seen time as a returner in practice. During his high school career, Wright had 91 receptions for 1,917 yards and 19 touchdowns and 330 rushing yards and a score on 24 carries. He was also a standout defensive back.
Temple freshmen aren't permitted to talk to reporters until they have played, but Wright's teammates have plenty to say about him.
"He has been bursting on the scene, playing running back, wide receiver, everything we need him to do," quarterback Phillip Walker said.
Returning all-American Athletic Conference running back Jahad Thomas said that Wright has shown a veteran's approach to the job.
"He doesn't complain. He works. He studies [hard] every day, and I can tell you he just wants to become a great player," Thomas said.
Rhule says the true measure of a freshman is how he handles things once school begins and he has to focus on more than just football.
"We will see how he is able to handle the grind, but so far Isaiah is amongst the more mature freshmen I have ever been around," Rhule said.
Temple opens its season Sept. 2 at Lincoln Financial Field against Army.
Notes. Redshirt senior linebacker Stephaun Marshall, projected as the weakside starter, remains out with a hamstring injury. "It looks like this is a longer term hamstring injury than we hoped," Rhule said. Marshall started nine games and appeared in all 14 last year as a strongside linebacker. . . . Redshirt freshman offensive guard Jovahn Fair, who was a projected starter going into camp, has been bothered by an ankle injury, according to Rhule. The Temple coach said that redshirt freshman Benson Israel and redshirt junior Adrian Sullivan have been working as the first-team guards. Redshirt junior Brian Carter, who started 10 games at right guard last season, has been working with the second team while getting some first team reps. . . . Getting thrown out of practice on Tuesday might have been a good wake-up call for the first-team offense. "Since that day, they have been so much better," Rhule said. Added Thomas, Rhule "just wants us to look ourselves in the mirror and not be a team that points fingers. After he threw us off we came in and talked about it as an offense and got things clear."