Recruits React

Brandon Chudnoff

Temple picked up 14 verbal commitments before Coach Al Golden bolted for the head job at Miami this past weekend. Now will any of the recruits bolt? talked to three of them on Tuesday night. Are they still committed to the Owls? One leaned towards yes, one leaned towards no, and one was a definite maybe.

Coach Al Golden has landed at Miami. Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio is on the next plane to the Sunshine State.

The question now is how many Temple recruits will follow their path to an alternate destination.

After hosting a number of prospects over the first two weekends of December, the Owls had accumulated 14 verbal commitments for their 2011 recruiting class. Barring an exodus of underclassmen, they will have somewhere between 15 and 20 scholarships to offer on National Signing Day in February.

In other words, if Golden had stayed, the coaching staff's work would almost be done. Now, obviously, there's a lot of work to do.

Here's what three Temple recruits had to say about their commitment status on Tuesday night:

Star linebacker Brandon Chudnoff of Philadelphia's George Washington High School said, "I like Temple. Coach Golden was a great coach and he turned the program around. But the head coach is just one reason you pick a school."

Chudnoff was one of the first prospects to commit to Temple this past summer. He was recruited by D'Onofrio. But it wasn't D'Onofrio, it was assistant coach Rob Spence who visited Chudnoff and teammates Daquan Cooper and Claudy Mathieu at George Washington High School on Tuesday.

Cooper, a speedy wide receiver, also committed to Temple this summer. Mathieu, a defensive end, joined Chudnoff and Cooper on an official visit to North Broad Street on the first weekend in December.

"I'm still committed to Temple right now," said Chudnoff, adding that Cooper is still committed, too.

But what would Chudnoff do if the Owls coaching staff changed significantly?

"I'm not sure about that," he said.

Rival recruiters are ready to pounce.

Chudnoff said an assistant coach from Akron called him on Tuesday night. Two other schools have also been in contact since Golden's departure was announced on Sunday.

Chudnoff heard the news from a GW coach, who called him on Sunday night.

Fellow Temple recruit Chris Hutton got the news from ESPN. Hutton, a defensive back from Paul VI High School in South Jersey, was the most recent prospect to commit to the Owls. He gave Golden his pledge after an official visit on the first weekend in December.

Now he's not so sure.

"I would have to say my commitment is not a hard commitment, it's a soft commitment," Hutton said. "A major part of my commitment was my interaction with Coach Golden and the coaching staff, so if there's going to be a change, I'm going to look at other schools."

Hutton said UMass, Delaware, and James Madison have been recruiting him hard, and Old Dominion recently contacted him, too. His immediate reaction to Golden and D'Onofrio's sudden detour to Miami: "I would love to join them down there."

Hutton said he was recruited by defensive backs coach Paul Williams, but it was recruiting coordinator Ed Foley who checked in with him on Sunday night.

How soft is his verbal commitment to the Owls? He said he might not wait for the new head coach to be hired before making his own college decision.

"I don't know, I guess I would have to talk to them," he said. "But the coaches at UMass have been coming after me hard for a long time and I've built up a good relationship with them."

On the other end of the spectrum, Connecticut-bred wide receiver Nainy Bah said late Tuesday night that he was "still committed to Temple."

Bah was visited at his school by Temple assistant Sean Desai on Tuesday. Desai has been recruiting him all along. Bah said they talked about his commitment and his grades and the coaching transition.

"I was really kind of shocked because I didn't even know [Golden] was a candidate for the job," said Bah, who received the news via an online message from a friend on Sunday night. "So I'm going to sit down and talk with my parents about it, make sure I keep my grades up, and I'll see what the new coaching staff is like. I'm just going to be patient with the whole thing."

Bah said he hasn't been contacted by any other schools since Sunday, and very few schools in general since he committed to the Owls in the summer.

Bah is planning to make his official visit to Temple in January.

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