Single digit another sign of Chapelle Russell's strong comeback for Temple

Temple South Florida Football
South Florida running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) hits Temple linebacker Chapelle Russell (22) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Temple redshirt sophomore linebacker Chapelle Russell didn’t start the opening 49-16 loss at Notre Dame, but he made such an impact with five tackles that he earned a starting spot the following week.

Russell has continued to earn praise. He has been one of the early-season surprises for the Owls (2-2, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) who host Houston in Saturday’s noon AAC game at Lincoln Financial Field.

During Thursday’s 43-7 loss at South Florida, Russell had a career-high 13 tackles, with 1.5 tackles for loss.

Despite not starting that first game, he is second on the team with 34 tackles, one behind strong safety Delvon Randall.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Russell, a standout at Lakewood, N.J., has come back extremely strong after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament in November.

On Tuesday he earned another accolade when Temple presented him with the weekly single digit No. 1, for his toughness, production and dedication.

“That is something the program prides itself in, so for the coaches and teammates to respect me enough as a player to be in that No. 1 jersey means a lot,” Russell said after Tuesday’s practice. “All the work I put in coming off the injury and doing the things I am doing, them putting me in the No. 1 jersey is like things are starting to click and our best football is only going to keep coming.”

Gardner sidelined

While Temple coach Geoff Collins doesn’t discuss injuries, junior running back Jager Gardner was seen on crutches. Gardner appeared in Thursday’s 43-7 loss at South Florida, with two carries for no gain.

The previous week he didn’t play in the Owls 29-21 win over Massachusetts.

In three games, Gardner has 37 yards on 12 carries, which puts him tied for third on the team in both categories.

No rest for the weary

Collins said he got home from Thursday night’s South Florida game about 4 a.m. on Friday. He used the rest of the day to recruit.

Collins said he left at about 7 a.m. and visited seven local schools and attended three games.

“Even though we have a large footprint and are reaching kids all across the country, we want to make sure we will attack this area and recruit it first and have done that and made our presence known.” Collins said.

Temple has already received 21 commitments for the class of 2018, four from either South Jersey or Southeastern PA.

Houston QB situation

Houston still lists Kyle Adams as the No. 1 quarterback even though he was relieved by Kyle Postma, who guided the Cougars to two fourth-quarter drives in Saturday’s 27-24 home loss to Texas Tech. Postma had a 9-yard scoring run and a 4-yard touchdown pass.

When contacted, a school official, said that “Adams remains on top of the depth chart.”

Of course depth charts can change before game day, so stay tuned.