Golden Night for Balasavage

Temple signee Matt Balasavage got a visit from Coach Al Golden on Thursday night, as Golden was the keynote speaker at the Manheim Touchdown Club's annual banquet. The banquet was a lead-in to the Tri-County All-Star Game, which Balasavage will play in this weekend. When he got home from the banquet, Balasavage spent a few minutes talking to OwlsDaily.com.

Temple signee Matt Balasavage is ready to begin his career on North Broad Street. First, though, he's got some business to attend to.

Balasavage, a 6-5, 240-pound tight end from Lancaster (Pa.) Catholic High School, will participate in two all-star games before heading to Temple for summer school orientation on July 2.

This weekend, he'll play for the North squad in the Tri-County All-Star Game at Manheim Central High School. The game features 70 top players from Lancaster, Lebanon, and Berks counties. On June 23, he'll play in the Pennsylvania East-West All-Star Classic in Altoona.

"The East-West game is more prestigious, of course," Balasavage said in a telephone interview with OwlsDaily.com on Thursday night. "But the Tri-County game is building a nice tradition."

As a lead-in to the Tri-County game, Balasavage was a guest at the Manheim Touchdown Club banquet on Thursday night. The keynote speaker at the banquet – none other than Owls Coach Al Golden.

"Coach Golden talked mostly in his speech about the players developing character and learning to take responsibility," Balasavage summarized. "I got a chance to say hi to him afterwards and he just said he was excited about me coming up there in July."

Balasavage was late to the banquet because he was playing in a district playoff baseball game. He's also been busy with football this offseason – specifically, busy with Temple football.

"I talk to Coach Dees every few weeks," Balasavage said, referring to Temple tight ends coach Andrew Dees. "They sent me a playbook, and I go over the playbook a lot, the formations and the different blocking schemes."

Balasavage said he expects to compete for playing time this season. The Owls have some decent depth at tight end, but nobody on the team has more than one year of Division I-A experience at the position. He'll be a youngster among youngsters.

Coming in, size is not a problem for Balasavage.

"The coaches have told me to stay where I'm at, and just to continue lifting and work on getting faster and stronger," he said. "As for learning the playbook, it's definitely a lot more to learn than in high school. We didn't really have a playbook."

Balasavage already has an idea what he needs to brush up on if he wants to get on the field this fall.

"There's a lot to learn with the passing scheme, knowing who to block and when and where to run your routes," he said.

Balasavage's future position coach, Dees, wasn't the coach who handled his recruitment. That was Ryan Day, who left the Owls this spring to accept a job at Boston College. Balasavage said he had a great relationship with Day, but he understood the realities of the coaching business.

"Coach Day actually called me right before he was going to leave," Balasavage said. "He just wanted to tell me how it was a hard decision for him to say yes to BC because he really didn't want to leave Temple."

Balasavage hasn't thought twice about his decision to sign with the Owls. And he had plenty of time to waver after verbally committing to Temple last August. More than a few schools continued to contact him through January.

"Coaches would call every so often to ask if I was committed to Temple, and I just said that's how it is," Balasavage said. "Buffalo was calling a lot. James Madison called more than once. Pittsburgh called. And Arizona State called in January."

Now, all of that is behind him. What's in front of him is two all-star games and the beginning of his career at Temple, where he plans on majoring in physical therapy.

Balasavage is ready to get down to business.

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