Addazio rates Temple recruiting class as No. 1 in MAC

Coach Steve Addazio said he has "the best class in the history of Temple football."
Coach Steve Addazio said he has "the best class in the history of Temple football." (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 02, 2012

It was hard to tell who was more excited.

Brandon Peoples had a glow about him as he sat in the Archbishop Wood High School auditorium. A seat away, Nate Smith wore a wide smile.

The Wood seniors and best friends were both elated due to signing national letters of intents on Wednesday to play at Temple.

"We are just right now reaching the halfway point of what we can do together," said Peoples, a running back. "Me and Nate, he's on defense, and I'm on offense. So we are basically going to attack that at Temple. He's going to terrorize the defense, and I'm going to terrorize the offense."

In addition to being in position to disrupt things, the duo is excited about what folks at Temple are calling a special class.

But how special?

It's "the No. 1 class in the [Mid-American Conference]. It's the best class in the history of Temple football," Owls coach Steve Addazio said. "That's something we are awfully proud of."

Twenty-seven high school seniors signed letters of intent to play at Temple on Wednesday's national signing day.

Additionally, former Penn State quarterback Kevin Newsome signed a scholarship as a transfer student.

Freshman wideout James Whitfield (Hargrave Military Academy, Va.) and linebacker Tyler Matakevich (Milford Academy, N.Y.) are the other additions. They enrolled in classes Jan. 17 and have been added to the 2011 signing class.

Smith, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound safety; North Marion (Fla.) tailback Jamie Gilmore and Newsome are the headliners of this recruiting class.

Newsome, who left Penn State in August, is taking classes at Tidewater Community College in Virginia. He can't transfer to Temple until he graduates in July. The 21-year-old will join the Owls in August and have two years of eligibility.

"Temple is definitely what I want," Newsome said. "I know Philly is a good city. My grandfather lives in Philly. My uncle lives in Philly. It's my second home.

"It just feels like Temple, in many ways, is the right direction for me."

As a freshman in 2009, the Portsmouth, Va., native was Daryll Clark's backup at Penn State. Newsome was expected to be the Nittany Lions quarterback in 2010 but was beaten out by Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin.

"I just want to give all praise to God for providing me with this second chance," Newsome said. "I want all the young kids to know that you should never give up on your dream."

He's determined to prove that he can excel at quarterback on the Football Championship Subdivision. As a senior at Hargrave Military Academy (Va.), Newsome participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He was also listed as one of the nation's top 40 college prospects in the Class of 2009.

Addazio said that redshirt sophomore Chris Coyer is still listed as the Owls standing quarterback.

"But football is a competitive game," the coach said. "You got to compete every day as coach and a player. The best players play on the field. What you did yesterday seems big. It's done nothing. So that's the way it is."

Gilmore, a 5-8, 185-pound speedster, and Smith are talented enough to see considerable playing time as freshmen.

Smith, who backed out of his original commitment to West Virginia, is explosive. The Louisiana native returned six kicks for touchdowns this season. He also had two interceptions.

Gilmore is regarded as the nation's ninth-best all-purpose back in the Class of 2012, according to Rivals.com.

Former Milford Academy running back Montrell Dobbs is enrolled at Temple and paying his own tuition. It is unclear if he will be eligible to play for the Owls.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-7081 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/pompeysgridlock Read his blog at www.philly.com/OwlsInq.

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