The Temple football team opened training camp on Monday with the opener at Notre Dame just 26 days…
Freshmen ready to make their mark
He later helped the Owls land another one of South Jersey's top high school football players when he convinced Timber Creek running back Zaire Williams to give Temple a longer look after he had committed to West Virginia.
Williams eventually decided to flip to the Philadelphia school, and both of the players were set to start camp Monday with the Owls as they prepare for the 2013 season opener on Aug. 31 at Notre Dame.
"We've got a lot of South Jersey guys, a lot came to me to change my commitment here," said Williams, who said he felt he was a better fit in Temple's pro-style offense. "When Buddy Brown committed, he called and talked to me about it. He said ‘Take an official' and I wound up loving it."
In addition to Brown and Williams, Williamstown defensive lineman Jullian Taylor, Camden Catholic linebacker Jarred Alwan and Mainland kicker Jim Cooper will be starting their careers with the Owls this year.
"(The early recruiting) was done by (former coach) Steve (Addazio) and his staff," said first-year head coach Matt Rhule. "But (assistant coach) Francis Brown did a great job at the end of recruiting, solidifying those guys. I'm happy they're here. They're focused and they want to play."
Said Brown: "Give credit to the coaches. They all came at me, came the same way at this recruiting class. They were very honest and up-front, very genuine. A lot of people realize that and trust that. I wanted to be around good people like Coach Rhule and what they built around here. The most important thing for me is to get a great education and play good football."
Cooper is expected to replace four-year starter Brandon McManus at kicker, while Williams has an excellent chance to be the Owls' starting tailback after Montel Harris and Matt Brown graduated.
"I'm hoping he can come in and fill a void, but I haven't seen him take a hit yet," said Rhule. "But I like who he is as a person, his maturity. You don't always get that as a freshman tailback. I'm hoping he can be ready."
Williams felt strong and confident going into camp. He made no predictions, but just wants an opportunity.
"We have a lot of great backs, a lot of great competition," said Williams. "We'll push each other and every day in practice will be a fight. I can block, I'm not really the fastest guy but I'm one cut and go, and I run hard. Hopefully I'll get a chance to show my talents. It's going to be better athletes, better competition (in college), but the best players show up."
Brown said he is nearly recovered from a meniscus tear suffered during his senior football season at Williamstown and is unsure how he'll be used after playing both linebacker and safety for the Braves.
"Most likely I'll play linebacker, but I might switch to safety," said Brown. "Wherever helps the team is where I want to go. Linebacker sees a lot more action, but I like covering too at the same time. It is what it is. I like the challenge."
No matter where he winds up playing, he and the rest of the freshmen from the area just can't wait to get started on their college careers.
"Everything is great, you know," said Williams. "I feel like we're going to do a lot of things this year and in the future."
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