Temple first-year coach Geoff Collins began football media day with some encouraging news on the health of some previously injured players.
Nine players who missed most if not all of spring practice are ready to go when the Owls begin training camp on Tuesday.
"We missed the leadership of those guys," Collins said.
The nine are redshirt senior defensive lineman Sharif Finch, redshirt senior offensive tackle Leon Johnson, redshirt senior corner Artrel Foster, redshirt sophomore linebacker Chapelle Russell, redshirt junior linebacker Jared Folks, redshirt sophomore cornerback Kareem Ali, senior defensive lineman Jacob Martin, redshirt junior defensive back Jyquis Thomas, and kicker Austin Jones.
Of these players, Johnson started all 14 games at right tackle, Foster made 12 starts and Folks made five starts at middle linebacker. Martin appeared in 12 games, making one start. Jones was the Owls' placekicker for 32 games, but suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in the sixth game of the season.
"Austin Jones is back and stronger than ever," Collins said.
Jones was replaced by then-walk-on Aaron Boumerhi, who did so well that he earned second-team honors in the American Athletic Conference, then was placed on scholarship. The competition for the placekicker job will be among the more interesting during preseason camp.
Collins said one positive during the spring was that with those players out, others earned reps and that he thinks it will help the Owls' depth.
Two weeks ago Collins, indicated during the American Athletic Conference media day that punter Alex Starzyk would be back with the Owls after being suspended from the team indefinitely in the spring for undisclosed reasons.
When asked on Monday, Collins said that his status would be determined sometime during preseason camp. Starzyk has been a three-year starter.
Martin glad to be back
Martin, one of the nine aforementioned players returning from injury, is naturally happy to be back. He broke his foot in pregame warmups before Temple's 34-10 AAC title win at Navy, but played in that game.
He was unable to practice in the spring but was among the more enthusiastic players, helping the young players.
"It feels great to be back out there and with my guys," said Martin, who had 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season and has played in 37 career games. "I didn't get a chance to be with them in the spring other than working in the weight room and it's so exciting to be around them. "I love these guys, they are like family to me."