Temple's Recruiting Season: The Most Important One

Mike GibsonCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2010

They say there are three seasons in college football: spring practice, the fall season itself, and recruiting season.

I have a hunch that we are nearing the end of the most important season, the recruiting one.

My thinking is that if you do well in this season, the one between the end of the bowl game and Feb. 3, success will naturally follow in the other two seasons. Maybe next year Temple will hold onto that 21-17 fourth-quarter lead (pictured) against UCLA or a similar-BCS team, like Penn State or UConn.

A lot will depend on this recruiting season, though.

It ends on Feb. 3 at Temple University when the faxes with the signed letters of intent arrive at Edberg-Olson Hall, but this is the stretch drive, the playoffs if you will.

Axel Ofori was one of a handful of guys who made their visits to Temple this weekend.
I don't know Axel Ofori from Axel Foley, but I like him already.  I like any defensive back who runs a 4.4-40, because you can't have too much speed back there on the last line of defense.

What I like most about him, though, is the attitude on top of his talent. Or, as we say here in Philly, his Attytude.

There might be bigger stars in this class of commits so far. I write might because you never know until they get here. Judging by the film, though, Nate Smith (RB/LB) of Highland Park (N.J.) could be one of the cornerstones. WR Deon Miller (coming in via last year's class this year) could help right away, too. He's 6'6", which already gives him an advantage on most DBs.

Sean Daniels, a 6-3, 220-pound RB/LB from Highland (N.J.), is the latest on the war board and his name was put up there today. Desmond Coble, a playmaking quarterback from talent-rich Richmond, Virginia, was added yesterday. Daniels rushed for 1,844 yards and 14 touchdowns for Highland.

I don't know if Axel Ofori has been offered or has accepted yet, but I hope Temple finds a place for him and he them.

Still, to me, it's not as much about what they have done, it's what they say before they get here.

Every year, someone has said something that jumped off the page to me. Last year, it was an offensive lineman from Immaculata High in New Jersey, Cody Bohler, who called the guys on the Temple team "the greatest bunch of guys I've ever met."

This year, it's Axel Ofori.

Gotta love his quotes from a couple of days ago on Scout.com about Temple University, the Temple football program, and how much he likes the school. "This weekend, I'm taking an official visit to Temple," Ofori told Scout.com. "I expect to like Temple very much and if they like me, my recruiting could be done. I feel that strongly about the school."

Axel Ofori was in town this weekend on an official visit to Temple hoping to receive a scholarship. One of the hallmarks of Al Golden's stay here is that he does things the right way and the kids can sense he's genuine. He won't go after other people's commits and usually does a good enough job holding onto his own.

If Ofori gets the offer and does commit, he will be the 24nd of this class. Already 23 have committed. One, 6-4 wide receiver Rod Streater, a state-high jump champion, has already signed is LOI.

By my count, there are about two scholarships left. Whoever gets one of those two, should accept. They will get a chance to play right away for a guy who does things the right way at a school about to win championships and make the cover of Sports Illustrated. (If I was Al Golden and wanted to make a big splash with my final scholie, I'd give it to Philadelphia Inquirer area Player-of-The-Year Drew Loughery, savvy quarterback of the state champion LaSalle High Explorers. He would be worth it in local PR alone, plus I think he would make a huge positive impact on the field. He's about as tall and as tough as former Owl quarterback Adam DiMichele and an inch taller than Drew Brees.)

Think about it for a second.

Golden already has told boosters that Temple is "loaded" next season. The Owls return six first-team All-MAC performers. With just a little help with the pass rush and passing game and secondary coverage (heck, maybe long-snapping), it's not a stretch to think this team can't take the next step.

What's the next step?

Take down national FCS champ Villanova before 45,000 people in the opening game and then repeat a similar run through the MAC, all the while adding wins over Penn State and UConn.

Do that and Temple makes the cover of Sports Illustrated and becomes the No. 1 "feel good" story in the nation.

Some of these recruits will write that story next season, just like the one true freshman Bernard Pierce helped pen last season. That one was a nice little story that had what Golden called an "unimaginable" ending.

This story could be a lot more compelling with a much happier ending.

I can't wait to read the Axel Ofori quotes in that one.