One of the pleasant surprises for Temple has been the development of offensive tackle Adam Klein, a freshman who graduated from Episcopal Academy.
Unlike some of the other freshmen to hit the field, Klein did not enroll at Temple early. He joined the team during summer workouts. He has played in all six games and started the last three in place of graduate student James McHale, who has been out with an injury.
McHale might return this week. Regardless, Klein should continue to see ample playing time.
At Temple, freshmen aren't allowed to be interviewed, but there were plenty of others willing to talk about Klein's development.
"What helped him the most is he was in the books all summer and he really wanted to come in and had the mindset not to redshirt but to play, and that is what he has done," said Temple starting guard Vincent Picozzi, a former standout at Lansdale Catholic. "He studies hard, works hard, and lifts as much as he can."
Klein is listed at 6-foot-5 and 264 pounds, but Temple coaches say he is closer to 290 pounds because of his weight training since he arrived.
"He is a great communicator. He is a diligent study guy, a fierce competitor, and really good above the neck," Temple offensive line coach Chris Wiesehan said. "He came in and competed in camp and was noticeable in camp."
All hasn't been smooth for Klein. In Temple's 45-35 loss at Boston College on Sept. 29, Klein was matched mainly against one of the top defensive linemen in the country, Zach Allen. The 6-5, 285-pound Allen had seven tackles and four tackles for losses, including two sacks, along with a forced fumble.
"I thought he hung in there against No. 2 [Allen] and showed grit and Temple toughness," starting offensive tackle Jaelin Robinson said.
That game against Boston College no doubt provided a huge lesson for Klein.
"He is a stud. I have all the praise in the world for him," quarterback Anthony Russo said. "He was kind of beating himself up after going against No. 2, but I told him, 'You are a true freshman and that kid is going to be a first-round draft pick.' "
According to the Temple sports information department, Klein is one of just 17 first-year freshmen in Football Bowl Subdivision starting on the offensive line and one of only four at right tackle.
"Adam Klein is a big-time young football player," coach Geoff Collins said.
Klein is among a group of freshmen who have contributed to Temple. Last week, receiver Sean Ryan scored his first career touchdown in the Owls' 49-6 win over visiting East Carolina. He opened the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Russo.
Isaac Moore, a 6-7, 305-pound offensive tackle from Sweden who enrolled in January, has played in all six games. Tight end David Martin-Robinson, who missed time because of injury, has appeared in the last two games. Collins said that DaeSean Winston was in on 30 plays last week as a nickel cornerback and also was on special teams.
Of the freshmen, Klein has played the most in a class that is quickly earning praise.
"Those true freshmen who have played a lot," Collins said, "it's impressive to see."