Football

Temple Football Set with Stan Drayton and EJ Warner

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Since Matt Rhule left Temple to coach at Baylor, Temple Football seemingly took a step backwards each and every season. A revolving door of coaches including Geoff Collins, Manny Diaz for a couple of weeks and Rod Carey left the Temple Football roster in rough shape. Despite a disappointing record in his debut season, Stan Drayton and freshman quarterback sensation EJ Warner appear to have helped right the ship.

The Wunderkind

Last year, Temple Football made a bit of a splash with the announcement of the commitment from EJ Warner, son of NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner. The younger Warner, who had a few other scholarship options, entered his debut collegiate season in a Temple quarterback room that had also seen a bit of flux.

Since PJ Walker’s record setting Temple career ended in 2016, Temple football struggled to find consistency at the most important position. Recently, Georgia transfer D’Wan Mathis had announced his intentions to leave the program following a disappointing 2021 season but later returned to Temple.

Without any other options, Stan Drayton turned to EJ Warner and excitement started to buzz in North Philadelphia. Despite not winning a ton of games, Warner brought a lot of needed energy to the Cherry and the White.

To cap off an impressive freshman season, Warner threw for 486 and 527 yards in two of the final three games of the season, breaking Temple freshman quarterback records. Heading towards 2023, it appears Temple Football has their quarterback for the new few seasons.

Warner’s performance, combined with his father’s star power, have finally brought eyes back to the Temple Football program. This year, Temple found themselves on the wrong end of many close, one possession games. If they are able to flip the script in these games next year, Temple should be able to get back to their first bowl game since the 2019 Military Bowl.

Reinforcements Incoming

With EJ Warner in place, Stan Drayton can turn his attention to rounding out the rest of the Temple Football roster. As a result of the College Football coaching carousel, Temple has suffered with recruiting.

Which legendary NFL defense would love to resurrect?

1985 Chicago Bears

1985 Chicago Bears

1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

2000 Baltimore Ravens

2000 Baltimore Ravens

2002 Tampa Bay Bucs

2002 Tampa Bay Bucs

1986 New York Giants

1986 New York Giants

2013 Seattle Seahawks

2013 Seattle Seahawks

With the recruiting-focused Drayton in place, who brought the likes of Bijan Robinson to Texas, Temple Football currently ranks as the 63rd overall recruiting class according to 247 Sports. For Temple, this is the highest recruiting class since they placed 60th way back in 2016.

Meanwhile, Drayton has quickly embraced the “Temple Tuff” tradition while serving the local North Philadelphia community. Last year, the team made some headlines for bringing smoke detectors to Temple’s North Philadelphia neighbors after a tragic fire ripped apart the local community.

Moving Forward

Of particular note for EJ Warner, 4 of the top-5 Temple recruits are skills players with the only member not in the top-5, an interior offensive lineman. As a result, expect Stan Drayton to let EJ Warner really grow as a passer in this upcoming college football campaign.

While Temple still has a ways to go before building a new stadium, switching conferences and returning to the Matt Rhule glory days, Drayton and Warner appear to have the team headed in the right direction. A welcomed sight for Temple fans after the Rod Carey era.

Let us know your thoughts on Temple Football in the comments below!

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Stephen Leonardi is a passionate Yankees, Jets, Devils and Nets fans. He is an avid writer covering his favorite teams and interesting topics around his favorite sports.