Homegrown stars cast lots with Temple

Brandon Chudnoff (left) and Daquan Cooper starred at George Washington High, and will sign letters to play for Temple in the fall.
Brandon Chudnoff (left) and Daquan Cooper starred at George Washington High, and will sign letters to play for Temple in the fall.

Two Washington players head the class.

Posted: February 02, 2011

George Washington High senior Brandon Chudnoff had just met Steve Addazio, who only days before had been named to succeed Al Golden as the head football coach at Temple.

"When he left, I wanted to get the equipment out and put it on right there," the 6-foot-1, 228-pound linebacker said with a laugh as he talked about his impression of Addazio, who exudes a zest for football and winning.

Along with teammate Daquan Cooper, Chudnoff had orally committed to play for Golden after attending his camp last spring. But just weeks after the Owls' 2010 season was over, Golden was headed to Miami to become the Hurricanes' new coach.

The two players said they never seriously thought about de-committing, and on Wednesday's national signing day, Chudnoff and Cooper will be two of the 21 players who are expected to be part of Temple's 2011 recruiting class. The new Owls will be revealed at a news conference at Edberg-Olson Hall.

Also among them are 5-10, 205-pound Harriton High running back Spencer Reid, the son of Eagles head coach Andy Reid, and Clinton Granger, a 6-3, 232-pound quarterback from GW who comes to Temple by way of Pierce Junior College in Los Angeles.

Temple lost one committed player in December when Olsen Pierre, 6-61/2, 280-pound defensive end from Fork Union Military Academy (Va.) followed Golden to Miami.

Reid was not offered a scholarship until Addazio took over and paid a visit to Harriton High, where he went to see only one prospect.

"I had been to Al Golden's camp twice, and they said they'd stay in contact," said Reid, who rushed for 960 yards while scoring 15 touchdowns last fall. "They had my highlight film, and coach Addazio liked what he saw. He said he would see how many scholarships he had. He was very serious and seemed like he knew what he was talking about. He sounded like he wanted tough guys there, and that's what I'm about."

Addazio cannot comment on his incoming players until they turn in a signed letter of intent, which will happen on Wednesday. But to make sure Chudnoff and Cooper were still on board despite Golden's departure, he visited with them in the office of GW coach Ron Cohen.

"I didn't know him, so I had no expectations," said Cooper, a 5-10, 161-pound athlete who likely will play wide receiver at Temple. "He seemed cool, real, and about business. He seemed intense. I like intense coaches."

"I told him if I go up there and play for him, I'd take my heart out of my chest and hand it to him," said Chudnoff, who attended each Temple home game last season. "That's what I did for my high school team, and that's what I'm going to do at Temple. Once I committed, I wanted to be an Owl."

Keita Crespina, a former Temple defensive back, is now in his fourth year as the defensive coordinator at GW. Crespina has been around - he had a pro career that included stops with the Eagles, the Arizona Cardinals, the Toronto Argonauts, NFL Europe and the Arena Football League - and he lauded the work ethic of Chudnoff and Cooper.

"Brandon is the first one in, and the last to leave," Crespina said. "We have to kick him out sometimes. Daquan has tremendous athletic ability, and he won't be outworked either. He has a lot of humility. He's willing to help a teammate out. He's not a "me" guy."

Granger, who led GW to a city championship in 2007, split time with another signal-caller at Pierce last season. He is a two-way threat who passed for 1,176 yards and 10 touchdowns, while rushing for five scores.

Temple has quarterbacks Mike Gerardi and Chester Stewart returning from last season. Both started games with mixed results. Gerardi was the starter in the Owls' last five outings as Temple finished 8-4 and went without a bowl invitation.

Cohen said colleges were still calling him about Granger on Tuesday, knowing that the player had orally committed to Temple.

"They brought him in from California, so they must like him," said Cohen, who described Granger as a raw talent when the player left high school. "He's a big kid who needed more playing time. Some schools wanted him to play defensive end. I haven't seen him play since he left us, but I'm proud of him. He's come a long way."

In Chudnoff and Cooper, Cohen said Temple will be getting two players who are about taking care of business.

"Brandon has a tremendous work ethic, and he's a typical George Washington player," said Cohen, who's been guiding the team for 26 years. "Tough and a team player. Daquan was probably the most talented player on the team, but he didn't realize it. He thought it came easy. He learned the hard way that you can't go with your God-given talent. When Temple offered him, it changed his whole life."

Notes. Britt Reid, who was a graduate assistant under Golden, was retained by Addazio. . . . Temple named Zach Smith as wide receivers/special teams coach on Tuesday.

Temple's Recruiting Class

Name   Pos.   Ht.   Wt.   High School

Robbie Anderson    WR    6-3    180    So. Plantation (Fla.)

Nainy Bah    WR    6-2    184    Morgan School

Antonio Belt#    WR    6-0    170    Forestville Mil. Acad.

Brandon Chudnoff    LB    6-2    228    George Washington

Daquan Cooper    WR    5-10    161    George Washington

Donte Dotson    WR    5-8    170    Milford Academy

Malcolm Eugene*    WR    6-4    205    Elwood-John Glenn

            ASA College

Jalen Fitzpatrick    QB    5-11    180    Harrisburg

Clinton Granger    QB    6-3    232    George Washington

            Pierce JC (Calif.)

Kenny Harper     S    6-0    215    Buchholz (Fla.)

Tyron Harris*    WR    6-3    195    Lindenwold

            Pierce JC (Calif.)

Chris Hutton    WR    5-10    185    Paul VI

Cory Johnson    DT    6-3    285    Chambersburg (Pa.)

Eric Lofton    OL    6-5    280    Rancocas Valley

Praise Martin-Oguike    LB    6-1    220    Woodbridge

Jacob Quinn    OL    6-5    245    St. Mark's (Del.)

Spencer Reid    RB    5-10    205    Harriton

Raysean Richardson   LB    6-1    210    Oscar Smith (Va.)

Nate Smith#    LB    6-0    220    Fork Union

Hershey Walton#    OL    6-4    320    Fork Union

Khadeem Wilson    DE    6-3    240     St. Anthony (N.J.)

* Mid-year transfers

# signed with Temple in 2010

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at (215) 854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.

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