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’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,”’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.