It’s officially open season on not only current Penn State players, but recruits as well. One school that hopes to benefit from the public evisceration of the most prestigious football program in the state is the Temple Owls. Temple has long been in the shadows of Pennsylvania recruiting, far behind the likes of Penn State and Pitt. Several factors can be attributed to the lack of success that the Owls have had recruiting in their own backyard. They have no prestige or illustrious history, an unimpressive list of current NFL players, and don’t even have a stadium to call their own. Seeing Temple play in a largely empty Lincoln Financial Field is uninspiring to say the least. Oh yeah, and it’s a basketball school. It’s tough to recruit at Temple.
Temple has been on a slight upswing, however, and their stock has never been higher. The Owls have gone 9-4, 8-4 and 9-4 the last three years and have been to two bowl games. The Owls had more players drafted last April (three) than Florida did (two). Current Head Coach Steve Addazio cut his teeth in recruiting under Urban Meyer at Florida and has proven up to the task of building up the talent level. With the sanctions against Penn State, this is the chance for Temple to make up some ground. Since both schools share the same recruiting grounds, many of Penn State’s current verbal commitments are high on Temple’s radar. LB Brandon Bell, WR’s Zach Bradshaw and William Fuller, TE Adam Breneman, Athlete Zayd Issah and OL prospects Dorian Johnson, Brendan Mahon and Andrew Nelson all have offers from both Penn State and Temple. While it’s highly unlikely Temple will be able to pluck all or most of those players from this list, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them get one or two.
Temple coaches will have some compelling points in selling Pennsylvania recruits these next few years. Convincing these kids to choose Temple over Penn State will be slightly (and I mean slightly) easier than in the past. By choosing Temple, they can (potentially) play in bowl games every single year. They can play for conference titles in the newly re-organized Big East, which welcomes Boise State come 2013. They get to play on a team with a full allotment of scholarships and plenty of depth. Overall, they get to be on a team whose brightest days are ahead of them. Temple coaches will make future recruits well aware that by choosing Penn State, they will not be going to Conference Championship games. They won’t play in Bowl games. They will be on teams with shockingly low levels of depth. They will be entering Penn State with the football program yet to face its darkest days.
Regardless of how many recruits Temple can snag from Penn State (if any), Temple very well could become a more appealing program for recruits in the near future. Temple currently has nine verbal commitments, including that of Buddy Brown. Brown, from Williamstown New Jersey, has more than twenty offers, with schools ranging from Wisconsin to Georgia Tech clamoring for his services. Penn State and Pitt have also offered, but Brown is making it clear he wants to be part of making something big, on a team truly on the rise.