(If you missed the honorable mentions to the countdown, click here for the list.)
LB William Kwenkeu, Sophomore
Counting down from 5 impact players for Temple football in 2017- we start with William Kwenkeu. The 6’1 205 lb. Maryland native is poised to keep the stingy, run-stopping tradition of recent Temple linebackers alive for 2017. When factoring in the impact of all players, Kwenkeu comes to mind immediately since he will likely be handling the middle linebacker duties for the defense. If we were to conduct this list at the end of last season, Avery Williams would have arguably made the cut. This year, just like Williams, Kwenkeu will be around the football on almost every play, and playing with such a strong secondary, puts more pressure on the interior front 7.
This year’s linebacker corp will feature a lot of inexperience, as three starters departed from last season. Names competing right now include Shaun Bradley and Chapelle Russell who have little game experience, but have been highly touted during this year’s offseason. Jarred Folks returns the most experience, compared finally to redshirt sophomore Jeremiah Atoki who was in last season’s mix at linebacker. There is plenty of bodies to fill the roles, but expect a noticeable dip in production early in the season compared to the last two seasons with the unit figuring things out. Along with Atoki, Kwenkeu is the most game-productive ready, and he will be leading a LB group with promise but little experience.
What’s interesting is Kwenkeu isn’t proven as an every down contributor. As a true sophomore, he just has all the tools to be a successful run-stopper at the collegiate level. This past season, he was a stand out on special teams, while logging valuable snaps on defense in place of an injured Stephaun Marshall. Kwenkeu finished the year with 14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 fumble recovery on the kickoff coverage team which came against Memphis in a crucial point in the game. Even in Temple’s spring game, he was all over the field chasing down running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers. Expect William Kwenkeu’s game to step into the next level this season once he’s able to get comfortable in a starting role.
Stay tuned every Wednesday for your continued countdown of Temple Football’s Top-5 impact players for 2017. Look out for player profiles, projected depth charts, and extended Notre Dame preview reports leading up to the opening game on September 2nd.