Moving on to number three in our impact players list for Temple football in 2017- we look at strong safety Delvon Randall. There is definitely controversy on this pick- not from the position group, but which of the players in the secondary to choose. My take is, you can choose any of the four, probably starting with Sean Chandler, and you can’t go wrong. Corners Artrel Foster and new transfer Mike Jones is as strong of corner duo the Owls have had in the Rhule era, and that will make the jobs of the safeties even easier. Throw in the fact both safeties Randall and Chandler have another year starting under their belt; let’s just say quarterbacks will have problems against this unit.
The most popular pick of the group would probably be Sean Chandler. The guy who’s starting for his fourth straight season (despite a lagging knee injury last season), the guy who’s on four preseason award watch lists, and the same guy who was arguably second in MVP voting in the conference championship victory last season behind Phillip Walker. Not him.
Then, we examine the corners. Two fifth-year seniors with plenty of game experience. Look at returning senior Artrel Foster who started in 12 of his 13 contests last season alongside current Indianapolis Colt Nate Hairston. On the 2016 secondary that finished third in the country in opposing pass yards per game. Now see Mike Jones, a player who came to Temple with Geoff Collins this season looking to maximize his value on his fifth year of eligibility. Had Jones declared for this year’s draft in Philly, he was a likely 5-7 round pick at corner according to cbssports.com. It seems as though he’s shooting bigger. As havoc-wreaking as this duo will be come gamedays, they are still not the most impactful players on this secondary.
We finally turn to newly awarded single-digit tough, #2 Delvon Randall. A guy who skyrocketed up the depth chart in just his sophomore season last year, emerging early as the starting strong safety on Temple football’s conference champion defense for all 14 games. The guy who the SportsDesk decided will have the most impact on this season among the secondary.
Randall was the most consistent of Temple’s efficient pass defense last season, and he didn’t miss a college game in just his second year out of high school. Revisiting last years stats- he was 3rd in the AAC with 6 takeways (4 INT, 2 FF). Had crucial fumble recoveries at Penn State and Cincinnati, and also tied Haason Reddick for second most tackles on the team (65) for the season. You can watch Randall’s impact in both the pass and run game in this video made by Temple linebacker Jeremiah Atoki from the 2016 season:
Anyone can see from last year’s stats how involved Randall is on the football field, and he will be put to work this season. Ultimately, it seems as though he will be tested the most in the position he’s in- making him a safe pick in this year’s senior-laden secondary. All three of the seniors on this year’s group have their eyes on the NFL after the season ends and Randall looks to be headed on that same path. There’s an opportunity for the Temple secondary to have all future NFL defensive backs starting on one unit, which is pretty notable for a non power-5 program.
Side Note: Let’s not forget- a good pass rush is a forgotten part of a secondary’s success, and something the Owls have been blessed with in recent years. Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike are in the NFL, Avery Ellis is in the CFL, and this year’s defensive line will have to rely on some familiar program names to step up. Sharif Finch and Jacob Martin are both back looking healthy on the ends, and Michael Dogbe will be looking for some tenacious company at DT in order for the unit to keep producing this season.