5 Most Intriguing Players Headed Into Temple Football Spring Practice

5 Most Intriguing Players of Temple Spring Practice

P.J. Walker, Temple football,
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The only version of March Madness that matters now for all but 16 NCAA schools is spring football. For Temple University, it begins today and optimism abounds because everyone returns along with some high-profile newcomers. These five players could have the most impact.

5. Tyler Matakevich

Tyler Matakevich, Temple football,
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

5. Tyler Matakevich

Tyler Matakevich, Temple football,
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Matakevich was the nation's leading tackler last season while playing linebacker for the Owls, and he led pretty much from the first game until the last. The only thing that kept him off some All-America teams was the Owls' dismal record. They will work to reverse that 2-10 mark and if that happens, Matakevich will be a leading candidate for Dick Butkus' honors as the nation's best LB.

4. Averee Robinson

Coaches like to use the term "gap leverage", and nobody brings gap leverage like a three-time heavyweight state wrestling champion. That's exactly what Robinson was as a heavyweight for Susquehanna Township High School in central Pennsylvania.

Robinson also has good bloodlines as he is the brother of former Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year Adrian Robinson. The Owls need his pass-rushing skills.

3. Khalif Herbin

No. 11 in this video will be wearing No. 27 for the Owls this fall, and he was the New Jersey Player of the Year in the 2011 season. He is dynamite with the ball in his hands, but the challenge for Temple head coach Matt Rhule will be getting the ball in his hands enough. That's why he might have to be shifted from slot receiver to third-down back, a move Rhule made with former Owl Matty Brown that worked out beautifully.

2. Jabo Lee

Lee, is a former South Carolina Player of the Year (and former Tennessee recruit). If he returns to his pre-injury form, he is certainly in the mix for the starting tailback job with current incumbents Kenny Harper and Zaire Williams.

It's rare that Temple gets an SEC recruit, though, and Lee could be motivated to show the folks in Tennessee what they missed out on when Temple opens at Vanderbilt in late August.

1. P.J. Walker

Starting only seven games, Walker showed that he could be not only a game-changer but a program-changer for Temple.

The Owls have not had a quarterback with this kind of ability since Walter Washington was the Big East Offensive Player of the Year in 2004. Longtime Temple fans insist that Walker is better than Washington, and he might be as good as CFL legend Henry Burris, who played for the Owls.