Alex Wells aims to give Owls sorely needed upgrade at safety

Safety Alex Wells can help shore up a Temple secondary that took a beating last season. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Safety Alex Wells can help shore up a Temple secondary that took a beating last season. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Posted: August 15, 2014

For Temple safety Alex Wells, the recruiting process coming out of junior college wasn't about what schools could do for him. It was strictly about what he could do for the schools.

"I wanted to play and play as much as I could," Wells said. "What's the use in going somewhere if you are not going to get out on the field and get the chance to make a difference?"

Temple's defense could use the help. The Owls fell apart last season, allowing 474.2 total yards, 298.6 passing yards, and 29.8 points per game. Adding to the misery, devastating miscues in the secondary cost Temple potential victories against Rutgers, Fordham, and Central Florida.

A Baltimore native, Wells starred for two seasons at ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y. He had offers from South Florida, Ohio State, Ohio, Maryland, and Texas Christian, but he thought Temple offered him the chance to make an immediate difference.

"I really didn't want to go to college and watch other people play football," Wells said. "That's not what the game is about if you are a competitor. I thought Temple offered me that chance. And it stuck out to me that they needed a safety."

The 6-foot, 203-pound Wells helped ASA win back-to-back Northeast Football Conference crowns. He earned first-team honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The Owls added another highly touted JUCO safety in Shahid Lovett, a 6-2, 205-pound former Vineland High star who played last season at Lackawanna College in Scranton.

Many in the Temple program raved about Wells during spring practice. This fall, the safety position, a weakness last season, could turn out to be one of the stronger units on the team.

Stephaun Marshall, a starter at safety in seven of 12 games in 2013, has moved to linebacker, but Owls coach Matt Rhule expects the competition for the two starting positions to be fierce.

Rhule said that redshirt sophomore Nate L. Smith (Archbishop Wood) and Boye Aromire, who walked on last fall, are ready to compete for playing time. Sophomore Jihaad Pretlow, who has worked some at wide receiver this summer, started five games at safety in 2013.

Aromire played cornerback as a freshman at Virginia Tech in 2011. That team went 11-2 and played in the Sugar Bowl.

"Nate L. Smith looks like he's ready to start playing for us," Rhule said. "Aromire is ready to play. Alex and Shahid, they all are ready to play and want to play, which breeds competition. That's good because that's what we want."


jmitchell@philly.com

@JmitchInquirer

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