Rodriguez, Whitehead patiently waiting for draft day

Both seniors continue preparations for NFL Draft at Temple’s Pro Day


The Temple News

For seniors Evan Rodriguez and Tahir Whitehead, one word describes what they could offer a National Football League team: versatility.

Rodriguez and Whitehead joined former junior running back Bernard Pierce at the 2012 NFL Combine on Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis, Ind. The North New Jersey natives can give pro clubs many options on offense and defense, respectively.

At 6-foot 1-inch, Rodriguez can be used in many ways as a tight end, whether it is off the line, coming out of the backfield or setting up out wide. The two-time first-team All-Mid-Atlantic Conference selection played in all 13 games with 12 starts at tight end last season leading the Owls with 479 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions.

At this point, though, Rodriguez is not worried what position he’ll play, but rather preparing for when that team calls his name. The 2012 NFL Draft is April 26-28 held at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

“Just hard training,” Rodriguez said of his preparation for the NFL Draft. “I was down in Bradenton, [Fla.] training at Athletic Edge with [combine guru] Mike Gough, and they prepared me really well for the NFL Combine and I’m happy with my results.”

Rodriguez had such strong results at the NFL Combine that he opted not to run the 40-yard dash or test his vertical jump at Temple’s Pro Day on Friday, March 16 at Edberg-Olsen Athletic Complex.

With a 40-time of 4.58 and a vertical measure of 36 inches – tied for the lead amongst tight ends – Rodriguez said he thought his performance helped his draft stock.

Scouts have compared Rodriguez to New England tight end Aaron Hernandez with his multi-dimensional abilities. Hernandez played in Temple coach Steve Addazio’s system at Florida when Addazio was offensive coordinator for the Gators.

“He does compare to him,” Addazio said. “A lot of people ask him that question. I like [Rodriguez’s] development and I like his maturity. He’s come a long way in a year or two. You talk about a guy who’s come the furthest – he’s probably come the furthest. He’s put himself in a position to be a middle-round draft pick.”

Whitehead, a 6-foot 1-inch linebacker, is a possible steal late in the draft. The second-team All-MAC honoree has been putting in time getting ready for the NFL Draft.

“I’m constantly in the weight room, constantly working on my technique,” Whitehead said. “It’s not only a track meet when you’re running [the 40-yard dash], you’re a football player. Not only do I work on the 40 and other drills and stuff, I also work on stuff for my toolbox – keeping a better base for striking opponents.”

A captain on the Owls’ defense, Whitehead registered five sacks last season and was a constant disruption in opposition’s backfield, finishing the season with the third-most tackles on the team with 70 and a team-best 13.5 tackles for loss. He played in all 13 games with 12 starts as the strong side linebacker.

Whitehead was also named the Defensive MVP of the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, in which the Owls defeated the Wyoming Cowboys, 37-15.

“[Whitehead] is very mature,” Addazio said. “You watch the growth he’s had from last year to this year, that’s that year some guys are missing.”

While this was the stage for Whitehead to display his physical attributes, he also sees it as a job interview.

“You’d get a smart player,” Whitehead said. “Not only smart, but physical, versatile. I can do it all. I can be used wherever they need me to be used. I’m a team player.”

Last year, two Owls were drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft, then-senior safety Jaiquawn Jarrett and then-junior defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson was drafted as the 30th overall selection in the first round by the New York Jets and Jarrett was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles as the 54th overall selection in the second round.

Bud Weaver can be reached at

Pierce declares eligibility for NFL Draft

Junior All-American running back Bernard Pierce has decided officially enter the National Football League Draft, according to a press release. The NFL will take place on April 26-28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The Glen Mills School product will forego his senior season with the Temple Owls as well his degree in communications. The release states that Pierce intends to return to Temple to complete his degree.

Pierce became Temple’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), and points scored (324). He set season records for rushing touchdowns (27), total touchdowns (27), points scored (162), and 100-yard rushing games (nine), while setting game records for rushing touchdowns in a game (five) and points scored (30) both coming in the win against Maryland this past season.

Marty Magid of MRM Sports in Conshohocken, Pa. is Pierce’s agent.

Football practice facility to undergo expansion

The recommendation for a $9 million Edberg Olson football expansion project, which plans to expand the football practice facility at Diamond and 11th Streets, was approved at the Board of Trustees meeting today.

Edberg-Olson Hall and its complimentary practice field was designed for the football team’s use and dedicated in 2000. Currently, the 23,600-square-foot building contains team and coaches locker rooms, a weight room, a training room, equipment facilities, coach’s offices, observation balcony, a player’s lounge, computer lab, individual position meeting rooms and a theater-style team meeting room.

The funding and financing source is reportedly from the Plant Fund.

Bernard Pierce named to Maxwell Award Watch List

Courtesy Dylan Buell, Ball State Daily News

Junior running back Bernard Pierce is one of nine players in the country to be added to the Maxwell Award Watch List, which annually honors the College Player of the Year.

Pierce is currently leading the nation with 15 touchdowns and is the Owls’ and Mid-American Conference’s top scorer with 90 points after six games.  The Ardmore native has scored three or more touchdowns in four games this season and set a school record 41 career rushing touchdowns in the Owls’ last game Saturday against Ball State.

The 6-foot, 218-pound ball carrier picked up 121 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Ball State game, recording more than 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this season and the 13th time in his career.  On the year, Pierce has rushed for 692 yards on 141 attempts.

“The goal is to get the guys who are you’re playmakers to touch the football as many times as you can,” said coach Steve Addazio in a press conference today.

Last year quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn was presented with the 74th Annual Maxwell Football Club’s honor. Newton led the No. 1 Tigers to a 22-19 win against No. 2 Oregon at the 2011 Bowl Series Championship National Championship game and to a 13-0 regular season record.

The voters for the Maxwell College Awards are NCAA Head College Football Coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club and sportswriters and sportscasters from across the nation.

You Should Always be Camera-Ready…

…especially if you’re front row at a game that’s being broadcast on ESPN.

Case and point: Sophomore Cherry Crusader, Charlotte Jacobson.

This is what our cameras caught,

Charlotte cheering for the Owls while they have the lead.

Still in the lead, Charlotte has nothing to do but smile.

…And this is what ESPN’s camera’s caught

After Temple's loss to Penn State Charlotte forgets the game is being broadcast on national television.

Don’t let this happen to you! Remember, someone’s always watching…

Hooter visits newsroom

Tonight, Temple’s favorite animal was seen flying, er, walking around Main Campus. Temple Student Government president Colin Saltry and fellow TSG members took Hooter for a tour through the Student Center, and made a special pit stop at The Temple News room.

According to an anonymous source, Hooter is working with TSG and Student Athletics to film a trailer for the upcoming football game against Penn State.

Temple vs. Akron resumes after rain delay

The football team was originally scheduled to play Akron at 6:30 p.m. today at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field in Akron, Ohio, but a rain delay forced the players and fans to seek shelter with about six minutes of action left in the first quarter.

The game has recently resumed and can be seen on   Before stoppage, the game was scoreless, but Akron had the edge in total offensive yardage with 87 yards.  The Zips had a total of 90 offensive yards last week against Ohio State.

Owls’ junior running back Bernard Pierce had three rushes for 13 yards in the quarter before the delay.  The Owls had a total of 6 plays on offense for 23 yards.

Bill Cosby to receive National Football Foundation’s Gold Medal

Bill Cosby, a former Temple football player, will be awarded the National Football Foundation’s Gold Medal this Tuesday. Cosby spoke to the New York Times about his time wearing the Cherry & White and said football taught him “obedience and hope,” but “told his coaches he was giving up football” because of “’Showbiz, man, showbiz.’” During the two seasons Cosby played at Temple, the Owls won five games, lost 11 and tied two.

Bone marrow drive today, Rm. 200 of the Student Center South


Temple Football team manager Michel’Le Daughtry/Paul Klein TTN

Temple Athletics’ football team is holding a bone marrow drive today, Apr. 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room 200 of the Student Center South. Below is an excerpt from “Football team directly touched by bone marrow drive,” explaining how you can help and what the screening process is. Click here to read the entire article, which profiles the football team’s team manager, Michel’Le Daughtry, who is battling acute myeloid leukemia for the second time.

Temple football began hosting its annual bone marrow drive in Spring 2008. That year, the team screened a collegiate record 630 potential donors for the National Marrow Donor Program. Last year, the number of people screened dropped to 218 individuals. Ryan McNamee, the director of player development, said the team hopes to screen 800 potential donors this year. The bone marrow drive will be held in Room 200 of the Student Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow. The process takes about 20 minutes to complete. Potential donors, who must be between 18 and 60, fill out forms first and then get the four corners of their cheeks swabbed.

-Jennifer Reardon