Nate Hairston Goes 158th to the Colts

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Former Temple cornerback Nate Hairston was taken in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday afternoon by the Indianapolis Colts. Hairston was selected with the 158th overall pick.

Hairston becomes the third Temple player to be taken in this year’s draft following Haason Reddick, who was taken 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals, and Dion Dawkins, who was taken 63rd overall by the Buffalo Bills.

With three players taken in the past three days, Temple ties its school record for most players taken in one draft. It has happened six other times, most notably a year ago when Tavon Young, Matt Ioannidis, and Tyler Matakevich were taken by their respective teams.


Hairston started all 13 games for the Owls this season, collecting two interceptions, and three pass breakups throughout the season. He also racked up 25 tackles, to help lead the #3 pass defense in the nation.

In total, Hairston played 43 games in a Temple uniform, with his first two seasons taking place on the offensive side of the football, as a wide receiver. In his two seasons as a defensive back, Hairston collected two interceptions, including a key interception in Temple’s victory over Navy in the AAC championship. He also totaled 40 tackles in two seasons, to go along with three tackles for loss, and six passes defended.

Hairston joins an Indianapolis Colts defense ranked 26th by Pro Football Focus in 2016. Hairston will look to make an immediate impact with a Colts secondary that also ranked 26th in the league in opposing passing yards per game, according to ESPN. Hairston’s physical style of play will translate well against NFL receivers.

Delvon Randall: Temple’s Newest Tough Guy

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In the midst of a head coaching change, a coaching staff overhaul, and a new group of young freshmen coming in, one thing remains the same in this new era of Temple football; single digit “tough guys”.


Numbers 1-9 are not easily earned as a Temple football player, as the team votes for the nine toughest players on the team who will don a single digit jersey.

The tough guy tradition was something new head coach Geoff Collins emphasized early in his tenure at Temple. He had no plans on changing, or stopping the single digit tough guy tradition.

Wide-receiver Keith Kirkwood was the first to be awarded a single digit number under Collins. The redshirt-senior wide-receiver will don the number five, worn by former standout running back Jahad Thomas, who will hope to hear his name called in next week’s NFL draft.

As for the first new single digit number to be awarded on defense, Junior safety Delvon Randall will be the newest player to wear the number two, alongside safety partner Sean Chandler who dons the number three.

Randall won the starting safety job in offseason camp prior to his sophomore season, and didn’t look back. Randall was seemingly all over the field in his first season as a starter, racking up 81 total tackles, and six tackles for loss. He also grabbed six interceptions throughout the season, including a key interception of Trace McSorley in week three against Penn State; he also had two fumble recoveries on the season.

Randall was ranked third in the AAC with five his five takeaways this season, and was awarded the Defensive Production Player of the Week for his efforts in week 11, a 31-0 shutout against Tulane.

Wearing the number two doesn’t come without a little history, and some added pressure. Look no further than the last player to wear the jersey, Avery Williams. The former leader of the defense, and multi-year tough guy, was one of the top linebackers in the AAC as a senior, helping lead the Owls to their second AAC East championship in as many years, and first every AAC Championship victory.


Williams was named Second Team All AAC in his senior season. He recorded 66 tackles in his senior season, to go along with nine tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two sacks.

Another notable former player to wear number two is Tahir Whitehead. The former Temple standout, and current Detroit Lion played for the Owls from 2008-2011, where he helped lead the Owls to two winning seasons as a junior and season, and was also a Second Team All-MAC selection as a senior.

Other notables to don the number two include Anthoney Robey, and Andre Heblett. With the history and significance surrounding the single digits, and wearing the number two specifically, Randall will look to have another strong season at the safety positon. With a new defense, new coach, and a new defensive coordinator, Randall should thrive as a playmaking ball hawk in the new defensive scheme.






SMU Takes Down Temple 66-50

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25th ranked SMU took down Temple at the Liacouras Center by a final score of 66-50  for its seventh consecutive win, and 17th of its last 18th.

Mustang junior forward Semi Ojeleye led the way for 2nd ranked team in the AAC, with 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds. He also made 10-11 free throws on the night. Ojeleye was the leading scorer for SMU when they defeated Temple just over a month ago.

The Owls matched up well with SMU early in the first half, and were tied with the Mustangs after the second media timeout. SMU subsequently went on a 10-0 to take a 13 point lead at 28-13.

Temple’s offensive woes continued in the opening 20 minutes of play, shooting  just 24 percent from the field in the first half, and just 3-14 from beyond the arc.

SMU capitalized on 11 Temple first half turnovers, scoring 11 points on the other end. SMU also had nine turnovers, allowing seven Temple points off turnovers at the other end of the floor.

The Mustangs, who lead the AAC in three point percentage, shot just 1-7 from three in the first half, and just 32 percent from the field overall. Junior forward Semi Ojeleye led all scorers at the half with 13 points.

Temple managed to stay within single digits for most of the second half, cutting the lead to six with under eight minutes remaining in the game.

Shizz Alston led the Owls with 13 points.

SMU took from that point forward, closing out the game on a 15-5 run. Both teams finished the game with 16 turnovers apiece, and each team had 72 possessions. The game marked the 7th in a row with double digit turnovers for the Owls.

“We did not handle it well, it certainly hurt us in the first half,” said Fran Dunphy on the full court press of SMU.

Shizz Alston led the way for the Owls with 13 points, followed by Quinton Rose with 12, and Daniel Dingle with 10.

The Mustangs dominated the glass, with a 49-32 rebound advantage. SMU also collected 15 offensive rebounds on the night. Obi Enechionyia led the Owls with a 11 rebounds.

“We didn’t get to the glass enough, we could’ve done that better,” said Enechionyia.

Senior guard Sterling Brown was the only other Mustang in double figures besides Ojeleye on the night, followed by two more SMU players with nine points.

“I give Temple credit, I thought they defended very well, they made us uncomfortable at times,” said SMU coach Tim Jankovich.

The Owls held SMU to under 40 percent shooting from the field, and just 23 percent from beyond the arc. The Mustangs entered the game the leading team in the AAC in terms of three point percentage.

Temple has little layover time, as they travel to Tennessee on Sunday to take on the 18-7 Memphis Tigers, whom the Owls defeated 77-66 on January 25.


Dawkins, Reddick Shine at New Positions in Senior Bowl

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Just over a month ago Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick were competing against Wake Forest in the Military Bowl in their last game at Temple. Today, the two former Temple standouts were showcasing their game for NFL teams in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Both Dawkins and Reddick played new positions in the senior bowl, with Dawkins moving from left tackle to left guard, and Reddick moving from defensive end, to inside linebacker.

Reddick tied for the North team lead with nine total tackles in the game, and was the starting inside linebacker for the team. Dawkins, who protected Phillip Walker’s blindside for three plus years at Temple, had success at left guard against some of the top defensive players in the country.

Dawkins drew praise from NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock in the final game of his collegiate career.

“Nice play by Dion Dawkins,” Mayock said after Dawkins made a kick out block on a run in the second half. “I think {Dawkins} has the capabilities to be a
starting guard in the NFL.”

The pair of 2016 AAC champions received high praise throughout the practice week.

Both players were recognized for their performance this week, as they were voted as the top practice players at their respective positions by NFL scouts.

Mayock continued his praise of former Temple players, naming Haason Reddick his star of the week.

“{Reddick} showed versability that people didn’t realize he had,” Mayock wrote in an article on “Reddick can be an inside linebacker in a 3-4, inside linebacker in a 4-3 and even line up occasionally as an edge rusher. He really helped himself this week.”

Along with Mayock, writer Daniel Jeremiah praised Reddick for his performance leading up to the game.

“This was basically a flawless week for Temple ILB Haason Reddick,” Jeremiah wrote. “He made the most money of anyone here.”

With the 2017 NFL draft fast approaching, Dawkins and Reddick will both take part in the NFL combine beginning on February 28th. They will look to become 4th and 5th former owls to be selected in the draft since last season.

Owls Can’t Overcome Second Half Deficit, Fall to SMU

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A year after upsetting an unbeaten SMU team, Temple entered Moody Coliseum looking for its first win in AAC play this season. The Mustangs came out hot, and carried a double digit lead throughout the game, defeating the Owls 79-65 for their 9th consecutive victory.

The Owls could not overcome an 18 point second half deficit, and fall to 0-3 in AAC play to start the season.

SMU dominated the first half, with runs of 11, and 13 straight points. The Mustangs hit five threes in the first half, including two by senior guard Sterling Brown, who tallied eight points in the first 20 minutes of play. Forward Semi Ojeleye led the way for the mustangs with 10 points in the first half.


The Mustangs dominated the glass in the first half, with a plus 10 rebound advantage at 22-12. They tallied 13 offensive rebounds in the first half, compared to only 12 total rebounds by the Temple.

Obi Enechionyia scored 11 points in the first half, to lead all scorers. The 11 points mark the first time Enechionyia has scored double digit points in a game since December 17th against NJIT.

The Owls started hot early in the half, leading SMU by six points, but ended up shooting just 9-25 in the first 20 minutes, and

shooting just 36 percent from the field. Temple, a team that averages 12 turnovers a game, turned the ball over eight times in the first half, leading to nine

Quinton Rose scored 14 points to go along with five steals (Cred:// Andres Kudacki)

SMU points on the other end.


The second half was a different story for both teams, as Temple was able to cut the lead to nine points with under five minutes remaining, but could not complete the comeback.

The Owl’s second half success was due in large part to the play on the defensive end of the floor. Freshman Quinton Rose had five steals, to go along with 14 points, most of which coming in the second half.

Temple was led by Enechionyia, and Shizz Alston Jr., who each scored 16 points in the game. As a team, the owls shot just 39 percent from the field, and 30 percent from beyond the three point line.

Key starters Alston Jr., Daniel Dingle, and Enechionyia were in foul trouble for most of the second half, including Dingle fouling out with just five points on the night. Ernest Aflakpui also had three personal fouls in the game.

SMU was led by Ojeleye, who was seemingly unguardable throughout the game, and scored a game high 19 points, to go along with a game high nine rebounds. Ben Moore and Shake Milton each scored 18 points on the night.

The Owls are next in action saturday afternoon against East Carolina at the Liacouras Center.

Walker and Thomas Among 19 Seniors to Leave a Lasting Impact on Temple

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After winning just two games in their freshman season, the 19 departing seniors following the 2016 season have come a long way since the 2013 campaign.

Back to back 10 win seasons, back to back American Athletic Conference East division champions, and 2016 American Conference Champions are accomplishments the seniors that tied for third in Temple history in wins over a four year span, with 28, can carry with them as they continue their careers.

Losing to Fordham in their freshman season, turned into hosting nationally ranked Notre Dame on Halloween, under the lights, on national television, along with a visit from College Gameday just two years later.

High school teammates at Elizabeth High School Jahad Thomas and Phillip Walker have been the feature stars of the Temple offense for the last three plus seasons.

QB Phillip Walker

Walker, a letter winner in each of his four seasons at Temple, holds the all-time Temple record in pass attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, and total offense. In his senior season, Walker broke his own record for passing yards in a season, that he set his junior season. This season, Walker became the first quarterback in Temple history to throw for over 10,000 yards in a season, and became the first quarterback in Temple history to lead a team to multiple bowl games

RB Jahad Thomas

As for Thomas, who was named First Team All-AAC last season, followed up by being named Second Team All-AAC for his senior season. After missing the first two games of the season, Thomas proceeded to rush for over 900 yards, and scored two touchdowns in six consecutive games, an NCAA best, and school record. Thomas was awarded a single digit number prior to his junior season, and proceeded to rush for over 1,200 yards, and account for 1,677 all purpose yards.

The duo have combined for over 15,000 total yards in their careers, and 121 touchdowns. Thomas has received an invite to the NFL combine.

As for the big guys up front, offensive line starters Dion Dawkins and Brendan McGowan have finished their careers at Temple after the AAC championship trophy.

RT Dion Dawkins

Dawkins, who was one of only four freshman who started at left tackle in the nation in 2013, has protected Walker’s blind side for the past four seasons. Dawkins, a three year letter winner, has also received an invite to the Senior Bowl, and the NFL combine, and was named First Team All-AAC this season. ESPN’s draft insider Mel Kiper named Dawkins as one of the best offensive tackles in all of college football.

After starting his career as a right guard, Brendan McGowan stepped in at center this year after the departure of Kyle Friend. McGowan started every game this season after being the backup to Friend a year ago.

Defensively, much like a year ago following the departure of Tyler Matakevich, the Owls will have to replace three starting linebackers in Jarred Alwan, Stephaun Marshall, and Avery Williams. The outstanding linebacking corps helped lead the number one defense in the AAC, and the fourth ranked defense in the country.

The trio combined for 181 total tackles this season, led by Williams with 66, followed closely by Marshall with 64. All three recorded over 150 tackles in their respective careers. Williams, a native of Maryland, returned home and helped the Owls win their first conference championship since 1967 in Annapolis against the Navy Midshipmen.

DE Haason Reddick

Perhaps the most talented player on the defense, Haason Reddick leaves Temple after a stellar season. The former walk-on from Camden, New Jersey led the nation in tackles for lost for most of the season. Reddick was awarded a single digit number (7) prior to the season, and proceeded to record 65 tackles, along with 10.5 sacks, and 22.2 tackles for loss. Along with Dawkins and Thomas, Reddick received an invite to the senior bowl, as well as the combine.

Reddick had a key interception of Navy quarterback Zac Abey late in the fourth quarter of the AAC championship to help secure the win. He recorded two sacks in three consecutive games this season, including two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery against SMU. He is second all-time in Temple history in tackles for loss with 46.0, trailing only Dan Klecko. He tied Klecko’s record of 22.5 tackles for loss in a season in his senior campaign.

CB Nate Hairston

Senior cornerback Nate Hairston is another key defensive starter moving on after the 2016 season. Hairston totaled 27 tackles on the season, along with two interceptions, the first two of his career. Hairston began his career as a wide receiver, before converting to defensive back in his junior season, and becoming a starting cornerback prior to the 2016 season.

After losing this talented 2016 senior class, new head coach Geoff Collins still inherits a talented team with returning starters. With the talent still remaining on both sides of the football, and talented recruits coming in, the Owls will look to continue their dominance in the AAC East, and to compete for a second consecutive AAC title.






Temple Hires Geoff Collins as Head Coach

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Temple to Hire Geoff Collins as Head Coach

According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, Temple has hired former Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins as head coach, replacing Matt Rhule, who departed for Baylor last week.

Collins,  45, a native of Conyers, Georgia, has spent the last two seasons as the Gators defensive coordinator. He led the seventh ranked total defense in the country this season, allowing just 17.9 points per game, which is tied for 10th in the nation.

Prior to his time at Florida, Collins spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State while also coaching linebackers. He has also spent time at UCF, Alabama, and Georgia Tech.

Like Rhule, Collins has no prior head coaching experience. Collins marks the fourth consecutive coach hired by Temple that has no prior head coaching experience.

Collins spent two seasons at local Albright College in Reading as the defensive coordinator, and linebackers coach.

The Owls will face Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on December 27th under interim head coach Ed Foley looking for just the third bowl win in program history.

Temple Head Coach Search: Update

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With the departure of Matt Rhule last tuesday, Temple Football is in search of a new head coach heading into the offseason. Rhule had been the team’s head coach since the 2013 season, and led the Owls to back to back 10 win seasons, including an AAC title this season. Assistant coach Ed Foley will take over the interim job for the Military Bowl against Wake Forest, but the program is left to look for its next long term head coach. Here are some possible candidates for the job.

Phil Snow

Snow, the current defensive coordinator at Temple, is an obvious candidate, and would benefit the program because he is popular among his players. Many players, including Phillip Walker and Haason Reddick took to twitter voicing their support of the Owl’s defensive coordinator. Players used the #LetItSnow on twitter, to show their support.

Snow, along with Rhule, came to Temple in 2013, and has led a stellar Temple defense since his arrival. This season, the Owl’s defense ranks 3rd in the nation in total defense, behind only Alabama, and Michigan.

Snow has coached at many big name schools including; Boise State, California, Arizona, UCLA, and Washington. He also was a member of the detroit lions coaching staff from 2005-2008, serving as a defensive assistant, and linebackers coach. Snow has never been a head coach at the collegiate level.

Hiring Snow would benefit Temple in the recruiting aspects, as keeping the hire in house would essentially help already committed recruits remain committed, and would help Temple’s recruiting in the future because of Snow’s experience in the area.

Ed Foley

Foley is the team’s interim head coach heading into the bowl game, and is another possible in house hire for head coach. Foley ha

Foley alongside former head coach Matt Rhule (Credit:

s been at Temple since 2008, and has served a multitude of positions within the program. Most recently, Foley was the team’s assistant head coach, and tight ends coach before being promoted to the interim head coach position last week.

Foley was the head coach at Fordham, where he posted a 7-15 record in two seasons with the Rams. Foley has coached locally at the University of Pennsylvania, before eventually coming to Temple.

John DeFilippo

According to Marc Narducci, current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo has been contacted by Temple about the head coaching position. DeFilippo graduated from Radnor High School, and took over as the Eagles quarterbacks coach this season.

DeFilippo has served as the quarterbacks coach of four different NFL teams, and was the offensive coordinator at San Jose State in 2011. Before joining the Eagles, Defilippo was the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2015.

High School Teammates Are Back In Familiar Position

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After a loss in the American Conference championship game a year ago, Phillip Walker and Jahad Thomas walked off the field after having career years. This week, the high school teammates from Elizabethtown, New Jersey are back in the AAC championship game as seniors, looking for a different outcome.

Coming off of a week in which he became the first quarterback in Temple history to throw for 10,000 yards in a season, Walker looks to continue his recent streak of stellar play. Thomas, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, has returned and scored two touchdowns in all but one game in his senior season.

Walker is no stranger to record-making. As his senior season winds down, he has already broken school records in pass attempts, completions, touchdowns, yards, and wins by a starting quarterback. Walker has also started 45 consecutive games since the middle of his freshman season.

As freshman, the duo were part of a team that won just two games, with losses to Fordham, and Idaho. Since that season, Walker and Thomas have led the Owls to 25 wins, and the chance to be part of the first team in school history with back to back 10 win seasons. With a win, Temple would win its first conference championship since 1967, as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Conference.

Thomas was a two sport captain at Elizabeth High School (Cred://
Thomas was a two sport captain at Elizabeth High School (Cred://

The pair are no secret to big games, under John Quinn at Elizabeth High School, after losing in the state championship their junior season, Walker and Thomas led the team to a new jersey state championship their senior year. That same season, Walker won the Newark-Star Ledger State Offensive Player of the Year, and was one of the state’s most accurate passers in his junior season.

As for their time in high school, playing at Temple has almost been a mirror image for the two. As freshman in high school, the team had a record of 1-9, compared to 2-10 as freshman at Temple. Elizabeth High School posted a .500 record in their sophomore season, identical to Walker and Thomas’ sophomore season at Temple. Losing in the state championship their junior season relates to losing in the conference championship just a year ago. Now, just like high school, they’re back.

“We had the will to not want to lose,” said Walker after the victory over East Carolina. “We played for one another, we knew what was at stake.”

After a slow start to the season. Walker has turned it around, throwing eight touchdowns and just two interceptions since the season defining win over UCF. Including that game, the Owls have won six games in a row.

For his efforts this season, Jahad Thomas was named Second-Team All American Athletic Conference, after being first team last year.

Heading into the conference final, Phillip Walker, and Jahad Thomas have the Temple Owls prepared to finish what they couldn’t a year ago. Defeating Navy will not be easy, but the Owls certainly do not lack experience.

Owls Win AAC East for Second Straight Year With Victory Over East Carolina

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The Temple Owls will return to the American Athletic Conference championship game for the second consecutive year following a 37-10 victory over East Carolina. The Owls will take on the Navy Midshipmen next saturday in Annapolis Maryland.

Temple used a strong rushing attack to take down East Carolina for the third consecutive year. Jahad Thomas led the way with 152 yards , on 24 carries, and two touchdown. Thomas has scored two touchdowns in eight of the nine games he has played in this season.  Sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead also scored two touchdowns on the ground.

ECU struck first, and opened the scoring on a 13 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew to wide receiver Jimmy Williams. The pirates used an 11 play, 58 yard drive, spanning over 5 minutes to jump out to an early seven point lead.

The Owls proceeded to score 21 unanswered points to close out half, lead by two touchdowns from running back Ryquell Armstead, and another by Jahad Thomas. Thomas is 10th in the nation with 17 total touchdowns on the season.

Thomas led the way on the ground for the Owls in the half, rushing 12 times, for 79 yards, and a touchdown, including a big 28 yard run to set up his three yard touchdown run late in the first half. Phillip Walker completed five of eleven passes, for 91 yards in the half, including a 44 yard pass to Adonis Jennings that setup the Owl’s first touchdown of the game. Jennings had a career high 100 yards receiving on six catches, for an average of 16.7 yards per reception.

Temple scored first to open the second half, on a three yard touchdown run by Thomas, his second of the game.

East Carolina responded with a field goal to make the game 27-10. The score was the first points allowed by the Owl’s defense in the second half in the last four games, including shutouts of Uconn, and Tulane.

Temple proceeded to score the final ten points of the game, on a 35 yard field goal by Aaron Boumehri, and a 14 yard touchdown run by Sophomore running back Jager Gardner on his first carry of the game.

Phillip Walker completed 12 of 20 passes on the night, for 158 yards. He became the first quarterback in Temple history to throw for 10,000 yards in his career. He is also 7th in the NCAA in terms of career passing yards.

Avery Williams totaled eight tackles on the night to go along with one tackle for loss. Haason Reddick tallied six tackles, and one tackle for loss. He now has 21.5 tackles for loss on the season. Praise Martin-Oguike totaled five tackles, to go along with two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

Owls Roll Over Tulane 31-0, Record Second Straight Shutout
Martin-Oguike had two sacks on the night, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery

As a team, the Owls did not commit a single penalty in the game, while East Carolina committed four penalties for 33 yards.

19 Owls played in their final home game, including 11 starters. The Owls will look to win their first AAC championship in the history of the program next week at Navy.