Notre Dame Offensive Line Serve As Huge Threat To Owls

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Several NCAA analysts have Notre Dame’s OL among the top in the country. // Credit: ND Rivals

Temple football has a tall task coming up in taking on Notre Dame. Perhaps the tallest task for the team will be taking on the Fighting Irish’s offensive line.

Last season, Pro Football Focus ranked Notre Dame as the #1 preseason offensive line in the NCAA. Of that group, 4 of 5 starters are returning. Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher and Alex Bars are the lineman coming back. The open spot on the offensive line is right tackle. Tommy Kraemer, Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hainsey all are in the mix for that spot.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com commented on Notre Dame’s impressive front.

“The strength of the team will be along the offensive line and specifically the left side with Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. Nelson might be the most effective run blocker I studied on tape this summer and McGlinchey is an ace in pass protection. Notre Dame has two quality tight ends and exciting young prospects in Equanimeous St. Brown and Josh Adams. Defensively, the Irish are a little light on talent with Jerry Tillery, Nyles Morgan and Drue Tranquill as some of the draftable talent.”

CBS, Fox, Pro Football Focus and other websites already list 6’8″ McGlinchey as a top-10 pick in next year’s draft.

To make matters worse, the Fighting Irish have one of the best up-and-coming running backs in Josh Adams. Adams totaled a career high 933 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Now with an even more experienced offensive line, expect Adams to breakout.

Temple football will struggle to penetrate this offensive line and stop Adams. This year they lost all of their starting defensive line except Michael Dogbe- even though it isn’t as bad as it sounds. On the ends will be experience in Jacob Martin and Sharif Finch, and Freddy Booth-Lloyd will likely fill in the other starting DT role. 

With praise from coach Collins throughout the off-season, Shaun Bradley will likely take the reigns as top linebacker for Temple this season. // Credit: Philly.com

The Owls also lost all 3 of their starting linebackers. Young guys like Chapelle Russell, Shaun Bradley, and William Kwenkeu will now likely be pushed into the starting lineup as leaders of the defense. As physical and gifted as the coaches have praised the linebackers to be, game experience is a huge factor. Especially in week one. At Notre Dame. 

 

SportsDesk Impact Player #2: The Quarterback(s)

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Coming in at #2 on the SportsDesk impact player list, we look at the Quarterback position. A position so important to the success of a team, it was a borderline #1 selection on our list. With Temple coming off of back to back 10-win seasons, one of the most consistent performers was current Indianapolis Colt Phillip Walker.

Consistency at the signal caller position goes a long way in terms of projections, and it may be the sole reason why the Owls aren’t being selected outright in the East by news organizations previewing the AAC. The team selected by USA Today to edge out Temple in the division: South Florida. USA Today has South Florida QB Quinton Flowers ranked #1 QB in the conference. “If Flowers isn’t the best player in the AAC this season he won’t be far off.” You can see the correlation, and also how good the Owls’ roster is to be ranked second with the current quarterback situation.

Courtesy: USA Today Sports
After being the primary backup to Phillip Walker last season, it seemed like the starting job was Marchi’s to lose. // Credit: Philly.com

Temple’s quarterback controversy has been well documented since the departure of Walker. Walker was the team’s starting QB for the past 3+ seasons and holds most Temple football records at that position. Now, the Owls need to find a new leader.

When camp started, Logan Marchi looked to be the incumbent starter. He had been Walker’s backup the previous season and received positive reviews on his leadership abilities. Obviously, when the spring game came around all eyes were on him. Sadly, Marchi struggled mightily completing just 4 of his 10 passes for 92 yards and 2 interceptions.

This opened the door for the QB’s (Frank Nutile, Anthony Russo, and Todd Centeio) to try and capture the starting spot. Since Russo and Nutile were older, and have better size than Centeio, it seemed that they would have a better chance of challenging Marchi. Oddly enough, that wasn’t true. Each quarterback was just, OK with little flashes here and there. Centeio on the other hand was impressive. He made good decisions and seemed comfortable in the pocket. On the day he racked up 110 yards and a touchdown, while completing 9 of his 13 passes.

Still, Marchi seems to have a good chance of starting come week 1. Marc Narducci of the Philly Inquirer said it best, “This job appeared in the spring to be Marchi’s to lose, and while he didn’t lose it, last year’s backup also wasn’t able to snag it.

Frank Nutile (senior) is the oldest contender for the starting job. The last two open media practices featured Nutile taking first-team reps. // Courtesy: Twitter

Earlier in the spring Coach Collins went in front of the media and claimed he wanted to name a starting QB two weeks before the season started. The game is now nine days away and there has yet to be an announcement. Geoff Collins said after practice Thursday there’s a good chance more than one quarterback will play in the season opener. “I say two will play more than the others, and a third one could come in with a special package.”

Whoever starts next week behind center will have a lot on their plate, but will also have the luxury of a proven run game to fall back on. I wouldn’t count out the possibility of seeing two starting quarterbacks to shake things up for Notre Dame. With this much time to figure things out, you would like to assume the coaching staff will trot out a sufficient starter who can do a little learning but also maintain the flow of an offense.

For #1 on this list, Ryquell Amstead is a clear choice. Read our story on his newly awarded single digit, as the halfback will wear #7 for the Owls this season.

Rose a Stand Out at USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team Training Camp

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Credit: David Maialett

Quinton Rose was a stand out early this past season. In a four game stretch from November 20th to the 25th Rose a averaged 16.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 2.8 assists per game. This was topped off by a huge 26 point explosion against a ranked Florida State team.

From there on out, Rose was fairly inconsistent. He was only able to eclipse 15 points in 2 of the following 25 games. On the season, Rose averaged 9.7 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, and 1.8 assists per game. Obviously, none of these number jump off the page at you, but they are solid none the less. His efforts were also good enough to land him a sport on the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team. Additionally, you got a glimpse of how great Rose could be in the future.

Apparently, so did the USA Mens U-19 Team. They recently offered Rose a spot of the World Cup Team for their training camp. The team is loaded with young talent like Marques Bolden of Duke, Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky, and highly rated incoming recruits like Bol Bol (son of Manute Bol) and Trae Young.The coach of the team will be Kentucky’s coach John Calipiri.

So, far so good. Rose has been tearing it up in practices. As of now he looks like he’s one of the stand outs of the group and many experts agree.

Other spectators have said the Rose is one of the most consistent players there thus far. With his combination of size (6’8, 190lbs) and speed Rose has a real chance of climbing in the 2018 draft.

Hopefully, Rose will return with even more refined skills and bring the Owls back to the NCAA Tournament.

 

New Owls in the NFL

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The last of three Owls was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. The Indianapolis Colts Nate Hairston with the 158th pick.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com describes the former Temple defensive back as, “Hairston shows good awareness from zone and his physical style and willingness to come tackle make him an immediate fit for primarily zone cover teams.”

Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick were also selected in the first two days of the draft. Dawkins landed with the Buffalo Bills in the second round and Reddick to the Arizona Cardinals in the first.

Aside from the drafted Owls, six former Temple football players have reached a contract with NFL teams. Both tight ends Romond Deloatch and Colin Thompson agreed to terms with the New York Giants.

Running back Jahad Thomas signed with Dallas. Defensive end Praise Martin-Oguike inked a deal with Miami. Linebacker Avery Williams is heading to the Houston Texans and quarterback Phillip Walker has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Credit: Zimbio

Walker reportedly had an offer to stay in Philadelphia and play with the Eagles, but he elected to take his talents to the Colts. It’s still unknown if he intends to switch positions at the next level, but for the time being it appears he will enter as a quarterback.

The SportDesk’s 3 Breakout Stars On Defense

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Since, I wrote an article on the potential offensive breakout candidates, I figured why not make one for the defense? I mean, as the old saying goes “Offensive wins games, but defense wins championships.” Truer words have never been spoken about the Temple Football team. The Owls pride themselves on the defensive side of the ball and used it to propel them to their first AAC Championship in the 32016 season. So, let’s see what three players are going to break out, and help Temple compete for another ring.

Mike Jones, CB – 5’11, 187lbs

Credit: Temple News

By far the easiest selection of this list. Jones is already an established college football among the eyes of NFL scouts. Actually, he was projected to be a late draft pick if he entered the draft this year. Instead, the graduate-transfer from North Carolina Central decided to take his talents to North Philadelphia. Jones brings with him massive amount of career achievements such as All-MEAC First Team for both cornerback and return specialist on two separate occasions. As for Jones as a player he’s extremely well rounded. He attacks the run like a linebacker, flashes fluid hips in pass coverage and isn’t afraid to attack the ball when it’s in the air. In his career at North Carolina Central he amassed 114 tackles, 36 pass breakups, and 11 interceptions. Jones is going to flourish from having Geoff Collins as his coach. During his time at Florida, he helped create one of the best pass defense’s in the nation that ranked 2nd in passing yards allowed per game. Temple ranked 3rd. Jones is going to be the Owls #1 corner this fall and see his draft stock skyrocket.

2017-18 Stat Projections – 28 tackles, 8 passes defended, 3 interceptions

 

Delvon Randall, SS – 5’11, 208

Maybe this isn’t boldest selection because Randall had a good season this past year. Actually, one could go as far as saying he was one of the best defenders on the Owls. Last season he tallied 65 tackles and 4 interceptions. So, I guess you’re wondering why I picked him then, huh? Well, that’s because I think he’s just going to get better. A lot better. You got to love the way Delvon Randall plays ball. He’s a hard-hitting safety who can also drop back in coverage and flash serious ball-hawk skills. The former three-star prospect snatched the starting gig last spring and hasn’t looked back. He’s already made a big enough impact on Coach Geoff Collins to earn him an illustrious single-digit jersey number. With Hasson Reddick and other defensive starters gone Randall needs to be the a leader on Temple’s defensive and the jersey is proof he is becoming just that. Along, with my regular stat projections I’m going to make another bold statement. By the end of this season, Delvon Randall will burst onto the national scene and emerge as a top-5 safety in college football. Boom.

2017-18 Stat Projections – 72 tackles, 12 passes defended, 6 interceptions

 

William Kwenkeu, OLB – 6’1, 205

Credit: Zimbio

William Kwenkeu is one of my favorite players on this list hands down. The dude is an athletic freak. In high school, Kwenkeu was an awesome running back. I’d go as far to say that if he stayed at running back through his college career he would be seriously challenging Owls starting running back Ryquell Armstead, but instead he’s an outside linebacker. Kwenkeu uses his speed and his nonstop motor to harass his opponents. This past season, he was a stand out on special teams and he played valuable minutes on defense. Kwenkeu finished the year with 14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 fumble recovery which came against Memphis in a crucial point in the game. During the spring game, he was all over the field chasing down running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers. I believe that this year Kwenkeu will emerge as one of the team’s top linebackers. Who knows? In a few years time, we may be saying William Kwenku’s name in the same sentence as the likes of Tyler Matakevich and Haason Reddick.

 

2017-18 Stat Projections – 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3 sacks

Lacrosse Falls to #2 Florida, End Home Win Streak

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Temple’s Senior day didn’t exactly go as planned. The team saw their winning streak come to a screeching halt at the hands of #2 Florida. The Gators cruised past the Owls to a tune of 15-5. The game also accounted for the lady Owls first home game defeat this season in 8 tries.  

Florida opened up the game on a 9-0 run, and Temple struggled to get on the board until late in the first when Morgan Glassford found the back of the net. The Gators controlled a 9-1 lead as the teams entered the half.

 

Credit: OwlSports.com

Second ranked Florida continued to pour it on in the second half. They racked up six more goals compared the the Owls four. However, the Owls did show fight as the 4 goals all came in a too late comeback effort.

Mollie Stevens and Madi Hall chipped in three goals a piece for the Gators, while Sammi Burgess led all players with four. Temple’s high scorer for the contest was Morgan Glassford          who accounted for two of the Owls five goals.

 

An unexpected take away from the game was the play from the goalkeepers. Temple head coach Bonnie Rosen said, “We got some really nice play from our goalkeepers too so that’s always great to see. To be able to slow down some of the scoring of this potent Florida offense is always a good thing.”

Freshman goalkeeper Maryn Lowell defended eight goals in just the first half and another two in the second. Redshirt-sophomore Kelsea Hershey then took over for Lowell to only allow two goals in the final 19:26.

 

OwlSports.com

“This is a very strong Florida team, and you have to be ready to play every minute of the game in order to beat them,” said Rosen.

The lady Owls now stand at 13-3. Temple will continue to prepare for the upcoming Big East tournament with their final regular season game away against UConn. The game will take place  Saturday, April 29.

Temple Lacrosse Thumps Butler, 19-7

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Temple won in convincing fashion yesterday against Big East opponent Butler. The game was a complete blow out seeing the Owls thump the Bulldogs 19-7.  Seniors Carly Demato, Kira Gensler and Brenda McDermott surged the team forward by all chipping in a hat trick.

Besides the opening minutes of the game, Butler couldn’t stick with the lady Owls. The first half saw Temple go on an unanswered 7-0 run making the score 8-1. Before the end of the half the Bulldogs were able to add 2 more scores while the Owls added 3. This put the score 11-3 at the half.

Butler opened up the half by scoring first, but Temple was able to answer immediately with 4 straight goals. The Bulldogs tried to fight back and rallied off three straight goals, but the Owls simply had too much fire power. Temple ended the game on a 4-0 run making the final score 19-7. Although this games was a lopsided battle Butler only boasts 1 win on the season, so the victory was expected.

Once again, McDermott scored a hat trick making it five straight wins in which she has done so. Along with the other hat tricks from Gensler and Demato,  Maddie Gebert, Michelle Koscinski, Quinn Benintende Anna Frederick, Olivia Thompson and Nicole Barretta were all able to get in the scoring column.

The  lady Owls now  improve to 12-2 on the season and keep their undefeated record at home. Temple will face yet another Big East foe, Vanderbilt, on the road on Saturday, April 15. Look for the Owls to try and improve their conference record and continue on their winning streak

The SportsDesk’s 3 Breakout Stars On Offense

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The coming of a new season signals both excitement and wonder. Temple football fans are feeling both of those emotions at the moment. The excitement stems from consecutive 10-2 win seasons and a new expectation of excellence within the program. The wonder is a result of impact players such as Dion Dawkins, Phillip Walker and Jahad Thomas graduating or moving onto the NFL. As these players walk away, it opens a gap for new or under valued to talent to jump onto scene. So, without further ado, let’s check out my offensive breakout candidates.

Ryquell Armstead, RB – 5’11, 205lbs

Credit: Getty Images

Okay, I never said every player on this list would be a previously unknown player. As all Owl football fans should know, Armstead was extremely efficient this past season. Jahad Thomas spent the first 2 games of this season dealing with a wrist injury allowing the former 3-star recruit to come onto the scene. He rushed for a total of 919 yards and 14 touchdowns. I’m guessing you’re wondering how he could be a breakout candidate if he already is came close to running for 1,000 yards. The answer? No more Jahad Thomas. When Thomas returned to the team he took over lead running back duties. From that point on Thomas ran the ball 207 times while Armstead only had 126 carries. As the lead back I expect Armstead to burst onto the national stage.

Additionally, the team is rumored to be switching to a zone-read offense. If this holds to be true it only benefits him. While Armstead is a well-rounded back two of his best qualities include strong vision and his ability to make moves in space. The zone read allows him to flash both of these strengths. Not to mention, the uncertainty at quarterback will only increase his usage. I fully expect Armstead to be the focal point of the Owls offense this upcoming season.

Projected 2017-18 Stats – 1,300 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns; 25 receptions, 250 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

 

Jaelin Robinson, OL – 6’6, 325lbs

Credit: USA Today

This is another case of a senior graduating, so someone needs to step up. Dion Dawkins is heading to the NFL and leaves a huge (both physically and literally) hole in the line. All indications point to Jaelin Robinson being that guy. At a massive 6’6, 325 pounds Robinson definitely fits the mold of an offensive tackle. He’s extremely and athletic for a man his size. This can most likely be attributed to his history as a basketball player. He uses his experience on the court to his advantage. Basketball has helped Robinson develop quick lateral movement and has solid hands on the line.  Actually, as a sophomore at Wilbur Cross high school he lead his team to a state semi-final playoff game. According to the Temple News, it wasn’t until his junior season of high school that he began playing football. Even with playing a mere 2 seasons of high school football he was able to gain interest from Syracuse University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin and of course, Temple University.

Don’t just take it from me though. Head Coach Geoff Collins recently was quoted saying that Robinson has been one of the most impressive players in the team’s offseason conditioning program. Also, former first-team AAC All-American offensive lineman Eric Lofton was quoting as saying, “This guy is going to be a f—ing star.” Last season he played in 12 games giving him valuable in-game experience. While Robinson said he was open to playing either of the guard or tackle positions, but it seems more likely he will be slotted in at tackle. At that position, his lead competitors are Leon Johnson and Cole Boozer. I anticipate this battle to go on past the spring, but eventually end with Robinson running away with the starting gig.

2017-18 Projections – Wins the Right Tackle position, eventually makes the move to Left Tackle

 

Adonis Jennings, WR – 6’3, 205lbs

Credit: Getty Images

I know Keith Kirkwood’s name could be here based on the way Geoff Collin raves about him, or even returning leading receiver Ventell Bryant- but I’m going with a different receiver: Adonis Jennings. The University of Pittsburgh transfer flashed potential of greatness last season. In two of his final 3 games Jennings had 6 or more receptions and over 100 yards receiving. Further than that Jennings was a highly rated recruit coming out of high school. 247Sports ranked him as a 4-star wide receiver, so obviously the talent is there. Jennings has just had a difficult time tapping that potential. He’s been buried in a wide receiving core of Keith Kirkwood and Ventell Bryant which has hurt his production. Also, while Phillip Walker improved on his throwing ability in the pocket he lacked of sense of consistency. During this past season, Walker only completed 58.2% of his passes which ranked 74th overall among eligible quarterbacks. This limited the amount of catches Jennings received in a game. With the change in coaching, quarterback and his hot ending to last season one can assume Jennings will get more opportunities with the ball in his hands.

In the film I’ve looked over of Jennings it’s clear he’s a threat every time he touches the ball. Specifically, I looked over the film against Wake Forest in the Military Bowl. Throughout the game Jennings proves to be the most reliable receiver. He shows his ability to track deep balls on his first touchdown and flashes his capability of turning a short out-route into a full sprint to the end zone with his second. He uses his body well to shield off defenders making it easier for him to make contested catches. Besides Ventell Bryant, Jennings is the most athletically gifted wide receiver on the team. What I like most about Jennings is his desire to improve. In an interview in the beginning of last season with Philly.com’s Marc Narducci he said, “I wasn’t satisfied at all with my personal goals…Personally for myself I feel I will do way better than I did last year.” Jennings did just that, tallying over 300 more yards and 2 more touchdowns. I expect Jennings to continue to improve this season and at the very least be the Owls reliable deep threat.

2017-18 Stat Projections: 40 receptions, 800 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns

 

The Owls have spots to fill on offense and need people to step up. At the end of the day, the team is full of talent, so don’t be surprised if someone else comes to take the spot. With that being said, Ryquell Armstead, Jaelin Robinson and Adonis Jennings are who I anticipate to capture the spotlight.

Temple Lax Stays Hot With Fourth Straight Conference Win

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Courtesy: Temple Athletics

​Temple continued their winning ways with another victory over Big East rival Villanova on Saturday. Seniors Carly Demato and Brenda McDermott lead the team to a 13-11 victory with 3 goals apiece.

Villanova controlled a duo of three goal leads for the majority of the first half, but Temple’s Morgan Glassford was able to cut the deficit to 2 goals with just 0:48 left. From there, the Owls didn’t look back.

Coach Bonnie Rosen’s bunch opened up the second half with 2 goals bringing the game to tie early. Back and forth the game teetered, ultimately resulting in a total of 5 ties throughout the game. It wasn’t until the 7:08 mark that Brenda McDermott was able to put the team ahead for good. She even chipped in a final goal for herself in the final minutes which all but sealed the Owls victory.

For McDermott, she has had a hat trick in each of these four straight wins. This game also saw Morgan Glassford become the all-time draw control leader in Temple history with a whooping 162 in her career.

Senior Brenda McDermott // Courtesy: Temple Athletics

With this victory the lady Owls improve to 11-2 on the season while Villanova falls to 3-9. The Owl will now turn their attention to new BIG EAST member Butler, home at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12.

Meet The 2017-18 Temple Football Starting Quarterback Candidates

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As one era ends, another begins. This season the Temple Owls are tasked with finding a replacement for perhaps the most important player in the past two seasons. Phillip Walker. Walker lead the Owls to two straight 10-win seasons, an AAC Championship and two seasons ranked inside the top 25. Now the Owls must regroup. As Geoff Collins enters his tenure with the team, he must first decide (with the help of Offensive Coordinator/QB’s coach Dave Patenaude) his signal caller for the 2017 season. His candidates are: redshirt-sophomore Logan Marchi,  redshirt-junior Frank Nutile, redshirt-freshman Anthony Russo and incoming freshman Todd Centeio. Let’s break down the competition.

Courtesy: Twitter

Logan Marchi – 6’0/190lbs

If the season started tomorrow, Logan Marchi would almost certainly be the starting quarterback for Temple Football. Although Offensive Coordinator Dave Patenaude said in camp he’s putting no emphasis on first and second team practice snaps, the Connecticut native has been the first quarterback with the starting offense for most of Spring. As far as on the field production, even Marchi’s small sample size is more than most of his competitors. In his limited action, Marchi has played in 5 games, attempted 6 passes only completing 2 for a total of 27 yards. Not much to examine here, so we turn to his high school tape. Marchi displays fantastic pocket awareness. When you put on his tape you can tell he has a natural feel in the pocket and knows how to escape pressure. He struggles with stepping up in the pocket and is much more likely to scramble and make something happen with his feet. This, along with his 4.50 speed, can account for the 789 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.

During Marchi’s high school career he amassed 9,702 passing yards and 112 touchdowns. It’s evident he’s mobile, but the tape showcases really nice touch on deep passes. His ball location on throws like the back shoulder fade and the 10 yard out prove his ability to be an accurate passer at the collegiate level, but he will need to straighten up his throwing mechanics to do so. If nothing else, Marchi is arguably smart enough to understand and lead a complex college offensive, being he was named to the 2015 American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team. Look for Marchi to be a real contender in this quarterback race.

Courtesy: Twitter

Frank Nutile – 6’4/220lbs

Besides Marchi, Nutile is the only Owls quarterback with in game experience, but also like Marchi there’s not much to breakdown. In 6 career games, Nutile has thrown 5 passes completing all but 2. He totals just 40 career passing yards, which all came in the Owls’ homecoming matchup in 2015 against Tulane (3/3 40 yards), and one career passing touchdown. In 2015, Nutile was the primary backup quarterback, but this past season saw him battle Marchi, and lose that position for the next man up. It’s hard to have too much proof of who was or wasn’t the next man up the past two seasons because Phillip Walker started all 28 games.

Nutile has strong pocket awareness, but lacks the ability to escape pass rushers. Nutile does not pose much of a threat as a runner and is far more content sitting back in the pocket and making the precise throw. In terms up stepping up in the pocket and delivering a good pass Nutile seems comfortable. Like Marchi, he shows a strong arm and an accurate deep ball. His accuracy overall is more consistent than Marchi and his throwing mechanics are more fundamentally sound. He finished his high school career at the powerhouse Don Bosco Prep with 3,100 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. Nutile flashes his leadership and intelligence from leading his high school team to the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 State

Semi-Final and by making the 2015 President’s Honor Roll and being selected to the 2014 American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team. Nutile will definitely play a key role in this quarterback race.

Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

Anthony Russo – 6’3/220lbs

On this week’s “Temple Timeout,” Owlscoop.com’s Kyle Gauss told Vince and Bri he believes the QB race is a two-man battle between Logan Marchi and Anthony Russo.

For the Owls, Russo has probably been their biggest quarterback recruit in years. While Russo has no experience at the collegiate level his list of high school accomplishments are impressive. He’s a three-year starter at another high school football powerhouse Archbishop Wood, an Elite 11 finalist and graduate, a first team all-state selection, the Catholic League MVP and Maxwell Awards Tri-State High School Player of the Year. Overall, there’s no denying he’s a gamer. Russo is similar to Nutile in a lot of ways. Both are pro-style, who don’t do much outside of the pocket, and both are 3-star recruits. When you turn on the tape though, Russo is more polished as a high school quarterback. This isn’t to say that Russo is the better player now, as Nutile has more experience and has seemingly improved, but Russo has been impressive.

Of all the quarterbacks, Russo’s high school career is the most illustrious. He is arguably the best pocket passer of the group and delivers the best deep ball of the group. His strong footwork and throwing motion allow him to put a lot of speed and accuracy behind his passes. During his time in high school he was exposed to a very pro-style offense giving him experience with all types of throws. He finished his high school career with 2,500 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. If there’s one weakness to Russo’s game it’s his mobility. He lacks the ability to escape the play which was a common occurrence in the latter years of quarterback Phillip Walker. Russo’s age puts him at a disadvantage to capture the starting quarterback position, but it wouldn’t be the first time a young quarterback took the reins of a strong team. Don’t be surprised if Russo makes some noise as he continues to compete for the position.

Courtesy: Sun Sentinel

Todd Centeio – 6’0/205lbs

Todd Centeio is the outlier of the bunch. He’s a true freshman and is coming in out of Palm Beach Gardens, FL. While Centeio seems to have the slimmest chances of the bunch, you can never say never. Centeio spent time at two different places William T. Dwyer and  Royal Palm high school. Before transferring to Dwyer he recorded over 2,000 passing yards and 27 TDs in two seasons. His senior season was more fruitful than his junior season. He threw for 2,344 yards and 31 TDs and rushed for four TDs in that season and earned first-team Palm Beach Football 8A-6A honors. Obviously, he’s a successful quarterback, but how does he stack up to the other quarterbacks?

Centeio is another pro-style quarterback. His game resembles Anthony Russo’s in a number of ways. Like Russo, Centeio is a good in the pocket passer and prefers to sit back in the pocket instead of use his feet. Although, unlike Russo, Centeio can use his legs if need be. When Centeio reaches the second level he turns into a shifty runner making him dangerous to opposing defenses. Video surfaced on Twitter from Temple Athletics of Centeio running in a designed QB run for a touchdown in a spring practice in late March, and you can bet the coaches took notice of that. To point out weaknesses, Centeio sometimes struggles to deliver strong passes. His inconsistent footwork and throwing motion account for several wobbly and inaccurate passes. However, due to the amount of upside in the true freshman, expect him to take the season to redshirt and tighten up his game. That isn’t saying with a great spring and summer he couldn’t win this job, but with 3 other quarterbacks, it isn’t looking likely.

At the end of the day, only the coaches really know who is ahead in the quarterback race. One things for sure, it’s going to be very interesting to see who comes out on top. The return of every receiver from last season and leading rusher Ryquell Armstead should ease the transition for any of the signal callers. Look for the Cherry and White game on April 22nd to shed some more light on the competition.