Temple defensive end Haason Reddick spent considerable time in the Penn State backfield on Saturday. And when he wasn't there, the former high school running back at Haddon Heights was running sideline to sideline chasing down ball carriers.

Reddick's effort wasn't enough to avoid a 34-27 loss to the host Nittany Lions on Saturday, but it was another in a continuing series of stellar performances from this former walk-on.

"Haason Reddick was as good as we've had him play, really ever," Temple coach Matt Rhule said earlier this week. "It was probably one of the best game he has ever played."

That is some statement because Reddick has been building up quite a resume as a classic overachiever. His senior year at Haddon Heights was cut short by injury, a knee injury that limited Reddick to four games.

"I was mad and didn't know where I was going to attend college," Reddick recalls.

Temple defensive backs coach Francis Brown, a graduate of Camden High, was an acquaintance and through that connection Reddick was offered the chance to be a preferred walk-on.

The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Reddick redshirted his first year in 2012 and saw time mainly on special teams the next season. During the end of the 2013 season he was moved from linebacker to defensive end.

In 2014, he appeared in nine games, making two starts. Then he blossomed last year, starting 12 of 14 games, contributing 46 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. He earned honorable mention all-American Athletic Conference honors.

Yet after the season Reddick earned something even more valuable - a scholarship beginning in the spring semester.

"It feels good knowing my mother doesn't have to worry about things like that," Reddick said about his scholarship. "I am thankful to Coach Rhule and the coaching staff for putting me on scholarship."

Reddick is an undersized player at defensive end, but he has great quickness and an unending motor.

Against Penn State he made seven tackles, including three tackles for loss totaling 15 yards.

Deep down he knew he made a difference. But while he could appreciate what he accomplished, Reddick couldn't enjoy it because of the outcome.

"No matter how well I played, the win is satisfactory to me, and since that didn't happen it was disappointing," he said.

One thing that he can appreciate is the path that has led him to become one of Temple's defensive mainstays. He has likely appreciated it more because he had to start at the bottom and there was no guarantee he would even get on the playing field.

"It was hard, knowing that I was a walk-on," he said. "Me and my father kept talking about having to grind it out, and the message was that hard work gets noticed."

It certainly was noticed by his teammates.

"He has gotten a lot stronger since he came here," quarterback Phillip Walker said. "To go from where he was to where he is now is unbelievable, and I credit all the hard work he has put in to become the player he is."

In three games for the 1-2 Owls, Reddick has 10 tackles and a team-high 3 1/2 tackles for loss. Temple hosts Charlotte (1-2) on Saturday in its last non-conference game before beginning American Athletic Conference play the following week against SMU.

Reddick says his main goal is to have Temple defend its East Division title from a year ago.

"Winning is all that matters to me," he said.

@sjnard