Friday, January 28, 2011

Addazio trying to land last-minute recruits

Bruce Arians got a jem in his first recruiting class at TU.

When it comes to Temple football recruiting, I'm a lot like the guy who reserves the seat one  row behind the middle exit for the plane trip and trusts that I have a good pilot.
I kind of know where the Owls are going, but I trust the guy in charge to take us there safely.
Bruce Arians' First Recruiting Class included:
Paul Palmer, RB, Potomac (Md.)
Sheldon Morris, RB, Oxon Hills (Md.)
Steve Domonoski, LB, Jerwyn (Pa.).
Mike Swanson, DL, Mount Vernon (N.Y.)
Carl Holmes, OL, Philadelphia LaSalle
Mark Arcidiacono, DL, Philadelphia Father Judge
John Smith, RB, Philadelphia Penn Charter
Don Brown, DB, Pennsbury
Rodney Walker, DT, Philadelphia Cardinal Dougherty
James Thompson, QB, Tallahassee (Fla.) Leon High
For the past five years, all I did was look forward to the trip because Temple had the "Sully Sullenberger" of recruiting pilots in the meticulously organized, persistent and clean-cut Al Golden.
I (mostly) trusted Al because recruiting (except maybe for quarterbacks) was his strong point, he was organized and a good-looking, personable, guy who mothers (they are key in recruiting) welcomed into their homes.
If Al Golden was Sully Sullenberger, then Steve Addazio is Chuck Yeager.
He's not as good-looking (that doesn't mean anything to me, but it might to the Moms out there), but he's just as personable and he was named three-time national pilot, err, recruiter, of the year. So I should have reason to be confident.
Still, I must admit that it's less than a week to go before signing day and the turbulence on this flight appears rockier than usual.
The first recruit Addazio supposedly "locked down" was a Golden recruit, Cedric "The Entertainer" Walker who de-committed and chose Florida International instead.
Another DE recruit is said to be leaning that away.
For the last three years, Temple was routinely winnning the recruiting battles against the Pitts, Rutgers, BC's and Marylands.
I must admit losing two guys to FIU isn't sitting too well.
Maybe Addazio will surprise me and come up with a gem or two.
Geez, I hope so.
Harrisburg quarterback Jalen Fitzpatrick is in this weekend. Daz is also said to be recruiting Bradenton Southeast's Jared Williams, a blue-chip running back with Bernard Pierce size, speed and vision. I would be thrilled to get one or both.
Daz is also working hard to keep the early Golden commits and I hope he does that. I'm thrilled that Camden Catholic playmaking wide receiver Jerry Watters is finally coming to campus as a walk-on.
People say not to expect much from Addazio because he's been here only a month,  but Bruce Arians came up with a solid class in less than a month from the time he was hired away from Alabama in 1983. In Arians' first class was a fullback from Norcross (Ga.), Shelly Poole; an all-state lineman from Mount Vernon (N.Y.) in Mike Swanson; Carl Holmes, a 6-7, 300-pound offensive tackle from LaSalle; Sheldon Morris, a 6-foot, 198-pound back from Oxon Hills, Md., who led was county player of the year and led his team to the state title; Steve Domonoski, a linebacker from Jerwyn, Pa. and, oh yeah, a 5-10, 180-pound running back from Winston Churchill High in Potomac, Md., named Paul Palmer where the bio simply said "rushed for almost 2,000 yards his senior year."
What has been my recruiting mantra on this blog for years?
"The best indicator of future success is past success."
Paul Palmer is the embodiment of that statement. So is current Owen J. Roberts' back Ryan Brumfield, who is an inch taller and five pounds heavier.
If Golden had one Achilles' Heel in recruiting, it was trying to develop running backs and quarterbacks rather than recruit finished products at both positions. The one solid QB he had, Adam DiMichele, was a first-team all-state player and one of the greatest touchdown-producers in WPIAL history.
Bernard Pierce was a great running back recruit, a 2,000-yard back and state champion sprinter at Glen Mills, but where were the 2,000-yard backs and sprinters to back Pierce up?
You are not going to get it done with a 5-5, 150-pound backup.
Arians understood that so, in his first class, he recruited both Sheldon Morris and Paul Palmer.
A few years later, Temple's sports information department put out a comic book promoting Palmer for Heisman.
He finished second.
Arians' first recruiting class was the best of the first-year Temple coaches, but others have found gems, too. Jerry Berndt, who couldn't recruit a lick, got OT Tre Johnson in his first class. Ron Dickerson, who could recruit, got Easton's Juan Gaddy in his first class, along with WR Troy Kersey, QB Henry Burris and LB Al Singleton.
Dickerson, Arians and Berndt were all hired in late Dec., about the same time Daz was, so they had the same handicaps he's facing now.
If Daz can bring me a Paul Palmer (cough, cough, Ryan Brumfield or Jared Williams) in this class, I will do cartwheels.
For now, though, I'm just going to try to enjoy my first time flying with Captain Addazio.
They tell me he's a pretty good pilot.