It would be fairly easy to have a list of 5 players that will make an impact this upcoming season, this Temple has a fair bit of talent returning. For example, on defense there is Shaun Bradley and Chapelle Russell, both of whom were just announced to the Butkus Award Watch List for most outstanding defensive players, CB Harrison Hand and Linwood Crump, DT Dan Archibong, DE Quincy Roche, and so on. As you may be aware, there are plenty of key contributors that have been named to award watch lists or preseason All-Conference. The offense is pretty similar regarding players and their potentials, particularly the big 3 interior OL, while QB Anthony Russo looks to elevate his game as a NFL caliber QB, and a deep WR core.
What I wanted to do was find 5 players at Temple that no one is really talking about but are likely to become key contributors to the success of the team. These are guys we either haven’t seen a whole lot of, haven’t yet played to their full potential, or guys that could be thrust into larger roles and are ready to take the next step.
5. Khris Banks
Not sure who Banks is? You’re probably not alone. The redshirt freshman sat out last season to get acclimated to the college environment behind a deeper more experienced defensive line. This year, along with redshirt freshman Evan Boozer, Banks will see a larger role in the DT three-deep. He has the higher upside, but Boozer will likely see rotational time as well. Banks is 6’4″ and 295lb, it’s time we see what the big guy can do. He chose Temple over BC, RU, UCF, and several others. He’s going to be fun to watch over the next few years.
4. Isaiah Graham-mobley
Lost behind Temple’s stellar trio LB group is Graham-Mobley. He has battled some injuries that have kept him less than 100% at times but he has still managed to stay productive. Despite his health, he will return as Temple’s second leading tackler from last year. As a special teams ace, Graham-Mobley does a little bit of everything for the Owls. He along with William Kwenkeu provide experienced depth at Temple’s deepest position group. I’m expecting another 70 tackle season from Graham-Mobley, effectively making him a top 5 tackler on this defense yet again.
3. Kenny Yeboah
Stop if you heard this before, a talented and athletic TE at Temple who is looking for a breakout year. For al of its Temple Tuff offensive philosophy, the TE have been sorely underutilized. First it was Romond Deloatch who became a WR at the tail end of his career, then Kip Patton and Colin Thompson, both of whom went pro without doing much on our offense. Boozer and Myriack (and Collin Thompson) were generally used as blockers with Temple lacking significant O-line depth over the years. And now we have Yeboah who is 6’5 and 230lb. If the offensive line holds together, and by all accounts it should this year, there should be plenty of opportunities in a Mike Uremovich offense for the TEs to be involved. I invision 25-30 receptions this year, but perhaps a Temple TE is doomed to stay on the line. Still, he has the athletic ability to be a miss-match nightmare for LBs and DBs. His struggle has been as a pass-blocker, but hopefully as a redshirt junior he has been able to improve. The Owls are hoping so, and I’m a big believer in his ability.
2. Kyle dObbins
Someone has to take the #2 RB behind Gardner, who may or may not even be fully healthy by the time the season starts. With some of the uncertainties at the position heading into summer camp, its anyone’s guess who the next man up will be. Coach Carey has stated they will likely deploy a committee. Dobbins, along with R-JR Tyliek Raynor, are probably near the top in terms of likely to see the most carriers. However, JUCO transfers Jeremiah Nelson and Tayvon Ruley were productive at their former schools and present themselves as experienced options. Meanwhile, Jeremy Jennings showed some explosive potential with his limited carries. Freshman Re’Mahn Davis and Edward Saydee offer young options as well, both varying styles with Davis a more physical north-south runner and Saydee a more elusive type of back. The backfield is crowded with potential play makers, but the redshirt freshman Dobbins would be my guess as to the next man up. If he does take over as the #2 RB, expect to see him receive 60 carries and around 300 rushing yards. I think Nelson could sneak in there as the #3 guy, so he is also someone to watch. They need a RB that can pass block and catch out of the backfield, running isn’t the only thing an RB has to excel at. Nelson can do both well, considering he added 20 receptions for 200 yards, in addition to his rushing totals from last season. But he joins the team this summer and will be behind in the playbook. I think its Dobbins at the #2 position.
1. todd centeio
There are no signs of an imminent QB controversy, after all, Russo in only 10 games as a true starter threw for 2550 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 3 more. He is the local hometown player that Temple needs to advertise to the local athletes and fans that it’s possible for an area QB to get it done at the local college. He inherits one of the better OL groups in the AAC. His yards/attempt ranked 60th in the country and his QB rating of 125 was 78th. He has things to improve upon including accuracy and mental mistakes that result in interceptions. Russo is undoubtedly the starter this season and has all the tools to become an All-AAC QB.
Thing is, in this day and age you are unlikely to play all 12 games. You need a capable backup QB. At some point, Centeio will come into the game this season. Injuries aside, Centeio is an excellent athlete and can contribute in specialty packages that will ask him to either throw it or run it. Given the personnel we have, I would not be surprised to see Centeio figure into the game plan more frequently. Will we be seeing 2 QB sets? Probably not, but Centeio will get the ball this season. He was recruited by schools such as Miami, NC State, Indiana, USF, Cinci, and others. He would likely be a starter at some other FBS program. He has a legitimate arm and his confidence heading into the season is at an all-time high. Don’t be surprised to see Centeio take several snaps in each game.
- Mike Uremovich – Okay, technically not a player, but his offenses at NIU were less than stellar. He inherits a good offense with several promising pieces. This should be a top 65 offense, as in, better than half of all FBS teams. That requires more than 400 yards per game. Can he figure out how to do that? The last 2 years at NIU were not so kind to him.
- Will Mobley – Lots of movement in the special teams department this off-season from kickers and punters transferring, to longtime coach Ed Foley moving over to Baylor. The staff will be splitting up assignments. Will the kicking game suffer from all these changes? Mobley will be the key to success in field goals. Jacob LaFree is a grad transfer that may get kickoff duties as he has 97 touchbacks in his career.
- M.J Griffin – The true freshman safety possess ideal size, speed, and talent you covet for the safety position. The safety position will be interesting to watch this season as Benny Walls and Keyvone Bruton are your likely starters, but with a new coaching staff, all bets are off. DaeSean Winston drops back from his LB position and Amir Tyler and George Reid all come in with game action from last season. Still, Griffin has lots of upside as a future safety and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him rotate in as a freshman. The highest rated player in the 2019 class is not far from becoming an impact player on defense. He may get his chance this season to prove it.