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.