Temple position analysis: Offensive line

Temple football player Matt Hennessy-22052017-0004
Temple center Matt Hennessy.

Temple must replace two starters from the offensive line: left tackle and cornerstone Dion Dawkins, a second-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills, and center Brendan McGowan.

The future and present

It’s interesting that maybe the most highly touted player on Temple’s offensive line is center Matt Hennessy. Last season, Hennessy appeared in three games as a true freshman, but earned a redshirt year. He has been placed on the Rimington watch list of the top centers in the country.

Hennessy, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound product of New Jersey power Don Bosco Prep, has earned raves during the spring and in preseason camp. He also can play guard or tackle but will begin at center.

Experienced unit

Guard is a position with extensive experience. Redshirt sophomore Jovahn Fair (6-2, 300) appeared in all 14 games last year, making 13 starts at left guard. Redshirt senior Adrian Sullivan (6-3, 303) started all 14 games at right guard. Redshirt senior Brian Carter (6-1, 304) has appeared in 36 career games and started 12.

The tackles

Redshirt senior Leon Johnson has 22 career starts, including all 14 games last season at right tackle. Johnson (6-5, 320) is likely to be moved to left tackle this season. He has been working his way back slowly after off-season surgeries to his shoulder, hip and groin, but says he expects to be ready for the Sept. 2 opener at Notre Dame.

Redshirt junior Jaelin Robinson (6-6, 325) has yet to make a start, but could man the right-tackle position.

Converted tight end Cole Boozer (6-5, 295), a redshirt senior, can play anywhere along the offensive line. Several others could vie for time, including redshirt freshman Vincent Picozzi (6-4, 300) from Lansdale Catholic and redshirt junior James McHale (6-6, 300).