Right now they are just names on a list. Names of players filled with hope that this is thefirst step on their path to greatness.
For some it will be strictly an illusion. Their dreams will become nightmares — whether due to injury or they simply don’t pan out as expected. For others, perhaps some of that nasty nine-letter word —potential — will be realized. It remains to be seen, then, how far they can advance.
On National Signing Day everyone’s happy: the players, the coaches, even the fans… well., at least some of them. They’re confident this fresh batch of recruits will be the ones that take them over the top.
It will take awhile before we truly know whether this day was a success or failure for all these schools —or more likely somewhere in between.
1. Matt Rhule could sell ice to an Eskimo
Listening to Temple’s third-year coach preach the virtues ofhis program, their league (American Athletic Conference), their snazzy NFL stadium and the fact that a few former Owls have gone on to the NFL and the City itself and you can imagine how he dazzles prospective recruits. When Rhule gets on a roll he’s mesmerizing. The fact that he’s got actual NFL coaching experience — a year as the Giants' assistant offensive line coach — doesn't hurt, either .
2. Villanova hoping young running backs can crack lineup
With Kevin Monangai and Austin Medley graduating, and Gary Underwood coming off a serious injury, the opportunity is there for one — or more —of Andy Talley’s new fleet of running backs to make an immediate impact. Prime candidates are Jarrett McLenton, who rushed for 2,191 yards and 37 touchdowns last year, D’Andre Pollard, a first team all Pennsylvania RB like McLenton and New Yorker Aaron Forbes. Considering Walter Payton Award winning QB John Robertson will still be around, should make their transition a lot easier than most freshmen.
3. Temple travels better outside of Philadelphia
While filling the Linc— or coming anywhere close —for home games seems to indicate folks here have limited interest in Temple football, apparently the name carries greater weight out of state, Among the Owls 19 recruits are players from nine states, including two from Florida and one from Washington.Rhule’s sales pitch clearly is hitting home — at least their homes — with Floridian four-star running back T.J. Simmons, Washington D-back Josiah Bronson, brother of Seahawks’ rookie back Demetrius Bronson and Connecticut quarterback Logan Marchiheading the list.
4. Like father, like son
Among local standouts signing out of town were Jon Runyan Jr,an offensive lineman like his Dad, who’ll be following his father’s footsteps to play for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Fellow St Joseph’s Prep teammate John Reid will stay closer to home as part of Penn State’s James Franklin’s 12thranked recruiting class. Another familiar name, LaSalle College High four-star quarterback Kyle Shurmur, son of Eagles’ offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, will play for Franklin’s old school, Vanderbilt.
5. Redshirt isn’t a Dirty Word
For various reasons sometimes it takes while for a freshman to get acclimated. Besides learning a new system, blending in with his teammates and keeping up with classwork, he’s often adjusting to living away from home for the first time. Is it any wonder football may suffer in the process? When coaches recognize it, they’ll suggest that player redshirt, meaning he’ll continue to practice with the team for the rest of the season, but won’t play. That way he won’t use up a year of eligibility. Presumably, then, by his sophomore year going forward he’ll be ready to contribute.