Todd Centeio seeing time at WR, RB as spring ball continues
A notebook from Friday’s media availability with Temple coach Geoff Collins.
Ali back on the roster, practicing with team
After being removed from Temple’s roster earlier in the spring, redshirt-junior cornerback Kareem Ali rejoined the team last week.
Ali, a former 4-star recruit from South Jersey’s Timber Creek High School who held offers from the likes of Penn State and Florida, met with Geoff Collins last Monday to discuss the idea of returning. His mother, a former track athlete, and father, who played receiver under the name Kareem Gilliard, both graduated from Temple.
Collins said he’s looking forward to seeing a healthy Ali, who tore his meniscus last spring. Ali also dealt with a shoulder injury for most of the 2016 season, his redshirt freshman year.
“I’m excited about him,” Collins said. “The big thing about him is special teams play. He’s had an unfortunate career, being banged up and in and out with injuries. Just excited for him to be healthy and play at the level that he knows he can play on.”
Ali was not available to reporters following Friday’s practice at the STAR Complex, although the defensive backs and coach Nathan Burton are scheduled to talk Thursday.
Yeboah, others working on both sides of the ball
Since Collins first took over for Matt Rhule in December 2016, he has stressed the importance of “position flexibility.”
Temple has worked a long list of players at multiple positions. Redshirt-sophomore receivers Randle Jones and Freddie Johnson have seen time at cornerback, and senior running back Ryquell Armstead and redshirt-sophomore tight end Kenny Yeboah have played defensive end. Linebackers Shaun Bradley and William Kwenkeu have played some running back.
“The more these guys can do, it makes them more marketable when they get into an NFL camp and get on an NFL roster,” Collins said. “That’s why we do what we do.”
Yeboah, who played receiver and cornerback at Parkland High School, said his role could look similar to how Temple utilized Keith Kirkwood as an edge rusher last season. Kirkwood saw time at defensive end on obvious passing downs.
“We have a linebacker package (for me),” Yeboah said. “I’ve just been working off the edge. I’m really enjoying it. I’m glad he’s giving me the opportunity.’
Due to some injuries at receiver, Yeboah has also worked on the outside with Stan Hixon’s group.
Redshirt-freshman Todd Centeio has seen time split out and receiving and even some snaps at running back. He dropped a touchdown pass from fellow quarterback Anthony Russo during the open portion of Friday’s practice while he was lined up at receiver.
“Don’t read anything into it,” Collins said. “He is a quarterback in this program and he is a big-time quarterback in this program. He just knows the packages so well, he knows the offense so well, you can plug and play him at any place. He is a quarterback and a really good one.”
Collins added that there “always are” special packages for Centeio. Offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude told reporters earlier this spring that Centeio could see time as a running threat at quarterback, even if he does not win the four-man competition.
Raynor finally healthy
Redshirt-sophomore running back Tyliek Raynor revealed that he suffered a torn meniscus on the first day of preseason training camp.
But Raynor has returned to the practice field and entered a crowded backfield.
“Right now, I’m feeling real good,” Raynor said. “I’m feeling good, playing to the best of my abilities when I get on the field.”
A graduate of Philadelphia’s Imhotep Charter, Raynor said he has been frustrated at times by his injuries. He has not played in a game since arriving at Temple in June 2015, although he does have three years of eligibility remaining.
“When I’m down, my family and teammates keep me in high spirits,” said Raynor, a former Arizona verbal commit. “I don’t take it as a loss. I take it as motivation to get back.”
Collins called Raynor a “home run threat.”
“He’s really shifty,” Collins said. “The nice thing about our tailback situation is there’s so many and they’re not all the same style of running back. You’ve got Rock and (redshirt-freshman) Jeremy Jennings. They’re all different types of running backs.”
During his opening remarks before opening up to questions during Friday’s media availability, Collins announced that Temple will have new uniforms this season … When Collins addressed the team at the end of practice, he mentioned mid-year enrollee and freshman receiver Sean Ryan as one who has impressed in spring practice thus far. “He has made some really good catches,” Collins said. “He has picked up the offense really well, made some spectacular plays. The thing he’s being challenged every day, in this program, you have to play special teams.” When asked if Ryan could help this season and do without a redshirt year, Collins said that everyone is being given a chance and it will depend if he can “justify his performances to the older guys on (the) team.”