Temple Owls

Temple's Dion Dawkins drafted by Bills in 2nd round as versatility pays off

Temple's Dion Dawkins drafted by Bills in 2nd round as versatility pays off

The Buffalo Bills selected Dion Dawkins in the second round of the NFL draft with the 63rd overall pick on Friday.

Joining teammate Haason Reddick (see story), Dawkins is the second Temple player to be selected this draft.

Dawkins started at left tackle for three years at Temple, but in the Senior Bowl in January he moved to guard and was named the top offensive line performer by Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage.

"At the end of the day, I'm a football player," Dawkins said at Temple's pro day last March. "I can be listed as a center, a guard or a tackle because teams need offensive linemen with versatility."

The Bills traded their third-round pick (75th overall) and two fifth-round picks (149th overall and 156th overall) for the Atlanta Falcons' second-round pick, where they nabbed the Temple product. Dawkins becomes the first offensive lineman drafted by the Bills since they selected John Miller in the third round of the 2015 draft.

Dawkins could be a Day 1 starter at the next level and block in front of former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who finished sixth in rushing yards last season with 1,267 on 5.4 yards per carry.

Before Dawkins was drafted, he faced some adversity entering Temple like Reddick. 

Dawkins didn't have many options coming out of Rahway High School in New Jersey. He was committed to Cincinnati but pulled his commitment after it didn't offer him a full scholarship. 

Dawkins played at the Hargrave Military Academy in 2012 and then joined Temple for the 2013 season. He was one of four true freshmen to start at left tackle in the NCAA in 2013, including Laremy Tunsil, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft. Dawkins played in five games and started in two that season until breaking his foot.

But, Dawkins rebounded and went on to protect Phillip Walker's blindside for the next three seasons to finish out his career at Temple.

"With doing both positions, it's a better chance for teams to have guys they fall back on," Dawkins said. "If a tackle goes down, and I'm the starting left guard, then they can move me to left tackle or right. And I plan on learning every position so I can remain in the NFL for as long as possible and be a great player."

Temple keeps rolling with OT win over South Florida

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USA Today Images

Temple keeps rolling with OT win over South Florida

BOX SCORE

Nate Pierre-Louis scored 22 points, Shizz Alston Jr. had 20 points and nine assists and Temple beat South Florida 82-80 in overtime on Saturday despite LaQuincy Rideau's triple-double for the Bulls.

Rideau had 18 points, 10 assists and 10 steals to become the sixth Division I player in the last 20 seasons with a points-assists-steals triple-double. It was the second triple-double of the season in the American Athletic Conference, joining SMU's Jimmy Whitt Jr, and the first-ever at Liacouras Center.

Quinton Rose added 16 points for Temple (13-3, 3-1 American Athletic Conference), which won its eighth straight home game. J.P. Moorman II had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Alexis Yetna had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls (12-4, 2-2). David Collins added 16 points. The Bulls have had two other players record triple-doubles, with Adrian Hillman getting one against FAU in 1996 and McHugh Mattis versus Winston-Salem State in 2006.

South Florida was just 10 of 25 from the free-throw line, but had 17 steals and made 10 3-pointers.

Temple football introduces Rod Carey as new coach

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AP Images

Temple football introduces Rod Carey as new coach

Temple University athletic director Patrick Kraft smiled and let out a little laugh when he took the podium to introduce the school's newest head coach, Rod Carey.

"I feel like Bill Murray in `Groundhog Day,' " Kraft said Friday.

It was just 29 days ago that Kraft and the university were welcoming Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz as the replacement for Geoff Collins, who left for Georgia Tech after two years at Temple. But that changed quickly after Hurricanes coach Mark Richt unexpectedly retired on Dec. 30. Some 12 hours later, Diaz had a five-year deal with Miami, and the Temple job was vacant again.

"We got punched a little," Kraft said. "You were like, `Whoa.' And then you get back at it."

Temple started a new search that officially ended Friday with the hiring of Carey, who was at Northern Illinois. Kraft said the parameters of the search didn't necessarily change, but a wider net was cast than the previous search, and being a head coach was a little more important this time around.

"Every search has its own personality," Kraft said. "No matter if it was 17, 18, 20, 30 days before, you have to re-evaluate yourself. You have to look at what's the right person for this time in this program. We took our time to find our coach. We wanted someone who truly understood North Philadelphia and truly understood who we were. Someone who wanted to be here. Someone who saw who we are and who we can be.

"We were looking for a proven winner. Someone who has a track record of winning and winning the right way."

Carey coached in parts of seven seasons at Northern Illinois, leading the Huskies to six bowl games (all losses) and compiling a 52-30 record. He was the 2013 Mid-American Conference coach of the year and won two MAC championships, including a 30-29 win over Buffalo in this year's title game.

In terms of finding someone who "wanted to be here," Carey appears to fit Temple's need.

"This is exactly where I want to be," the new coach said. "I told Dr. Kraft as we were going through this whole thing, I said, `Put whatever buyout you want on it. I don't care.' That's not important to me. What's important to me is I want to be here. I've said no other times. This is the right time and the right place."

Carey, who took over at NIU before the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2012 season, said it wasn't awkward being the second head coach hired in less than a month.

"They always made me feel like I was the guy they wanted," he said. "I've been this guy before. I was the third head coach in three years at NIU. Yes, I was the offensive coordinator for two of those years, but the guys on defense didn't know me."

The 47-year-old Carey started his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Minnesota in 1998. He said he's in the process of making decisions on the rest of his coaching staff.