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CFF Targets - The 'other' Temple TE that CFF experts DON'T want you to know about
It's always sunny in Philadelphia, especially when there's a big-time TE (or two) in town
New York is a place where people go to reinvent themselves; Philadelphia is a place where people discover who they are
- Peter McAndrews, Chef
The world of CFF content creation can at times, be a competitive enterprise. Indeed, as we roll into summer up here in Toronto, festival SZN begins; and silly me, I decided to take one weekend off from writing to attend an annual early-June festival held right in front of my building. While enjoying all the festival had to offer—lemonade, BBQ chicken, among others... fellow C2C writer Chris Moxley beat me to the punch with his write-up on Temple’s TE David Martin-Robinson.
You snooze you lose I guess.
No matter—there is in fact, another Temple TE that offers intriguing upside, and presents a similar profile to DMR that has not been covered yet. That TE—redshirt junior Jordan Smith, is the feature of today’s article. Dare I say Moxley’s article is a mere smoke screen to distract the common CFF player from our guy—agent Smith? I tweeted last night that it is actually plausible that Smith outperforms DMR this season at Temple, and in turn could end up leading the AAC in TE performance. Shoutout to CFFLists for their great work with these CFF graphics and analyses.
Coaching & System
There is not much to see here. Danny Langsdorf joined Temple as the OC/QBs coach in 2022; prior to that he was the pass-game coordinator and QBs coach of Colorado (2021), UNLV (2020), and Fresno State (2019). He also spent time as the OC at Nebraska from 2015-2017, and Oregon State 2005-2013.
Of those teams, a TE led the team in at least one receiving stat in:
2021 (Brady Russell: 25-307-0)
2019 (Jared Rice: 32-307-4)
2011 (Joe Halahuni: 31-268-3)
2010 (Joe Halahuni: 30-390-5)
2007 (Howard Croom: 20-188-3)
2006 (Joe Newton: 36-466-7).
The theme seems to be that each of those teams were not great passing teams, as seen by the fact that those TEs listed above all led the team in either yards or TDs, yet still produced rather lacklustre stat lines.
With TEs, it’s hard to find patterns of strong usage, especially when we’re going back to the 2000s. The pattern of higher TE usage is more of a modern trend, and even still, high-end usage of TEs is few and far between in the collegiate game. Overall, I’d say that while I’m not blown away by the track record of the OC, it is encouraging to see TEs have been heavily involved in his offences in the past, even if those offences were rather anemic.
What is noteworthy is that in two of the the final three games of 2022, freshman QB E.J. Warner threw 59 and 63 passes. With that kind of volume, every pass catching position at Temple is worth an assessment for CFF.
TE Jordan Smith — 6’5, 230
I don’t want to come off as exaggeratory (who me? no, never) but Smith has some Kyle Pitts-esque qualities to him. For starters he looks similar, the Florida native has a lean build, and looks more like a jumbo WR than TE. DMR, for instance, sports a much more classic TE build (6’4, 255). Pitts, of course, hails from the City of Brotherly love, himself. In an odd parallel, I am comparing a player from Florida, playing his college ball in Philadelphia, to a player from Philly, who played his college ball in Florida.
The redshirt Jr. began his career at Temple as part of their 2018 class. He would not make his first start until 2021, a season in which his career high was 6 catches for 55 yards vs. Memphis. He finished that season with 18 receptions (32 targets) for 186 yards (3 FPG). Not exactly lighting the world on fire, but the target volume was not bad. He actually even had a rushing attempt vs. ECU, in which he took for 18 yards.
The 2022 season was much better. He had season highs of 17.9 points vs. Rutgers, 23.5 points vs. ECU, and over 10 points vs. ULLAF and Houston. He closed out the season with 7, 9 and 5 targets (no rushing attempts though, sadly). So similar to DMR, Smith also saw steep uptick in targets toward the end of 2022, coinciding with E.J. Warners strong end to the season—could this volume be a sign of what’s to come in 2023? Could be, if Temple’s going to pass the ball 59 and 63 times, anything is possible, no matter how many TEs they have involved. Smith finished 2022 with 25 receptions (40 targets) for 346 yards and 4 TDs (7.6 FPG). The primary competition at the position—as mentioned—is David Martin Robinson (otherwise known as DMR).
DMR is a local kid from Pennsylvania, who also began his career all the way back in 2018 with Temple. His first four seasons were unremarkable by all accounts—never averaging more than 3.7 FPG (1-ppr). Not really a player that would be relevant in CFF, even at the sparse TE position.
However, in 2022 DMR might have accidentally discovered who he really is, finishing his fall campaign on an incredibly strong note. In two out of his final three games, he scored more than 26 FPs (27.4 vs. Houston, 26.3 vs. ECU). In total, over the last three games DMR was targeted 27 times, catching 21 of those for 231 yards and 2 TDs. He also had a notable game on Sept. 24th vs. UMass, catching 3 passes (5 targets) for 54 yards (8.4 points). Overall, he averaged 9.3 FPG in 2022, catching 33 passes on 47 targets for 366 yards and 2 TDs. The games vs. Houston and ECU definitely skew the average, though. He only scored more than 8 points three times throughout the season.
A few observations: 1) the Temple TEs love to feast on ECU’s defence and 2) DMR also saw a steep uptick in volume, casting some doubt and whether there will be a TE on this team that consistently produces. We might be in bestball territory here, fellas.
There is opportunity for both to perform, however. Last year’s lead receiver Jose Barbon was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in April (vacating 72 receptions, 918 yards and 2 TDs). Ditto for their WR3—Adonicas Sanders, who caught 37 passes for 437 yards and 2 TDs. They did bring in former Colorado State WR Dante Wright, who’s been a strong CFF asset in the past. He figures to absorb some of the vacated targets from last year’s WR1 and WR3.
Temple sophomore QB EJ Warner broke out last season, throwing over 3000 yards and 18 TDs to 11 INTs. In his second year as the starter, he should be even more potent in the air. I am predicating my projection mostly based on the end of the season. In two out of his final three games, Warner scored 34 and 44 points. The TEs’ scores benefited from this, as you can see DMR went over 26 points in both of those games, and Smith went over 10 and 23 points. It’s an impressive and rare feat for a college football team to have two TEs go over 20 points in the same game. Certainly something that is noteworthy.
Not a staff with a heavy track record of TE usage, nor is there a real history of either player being CFF relevant over an entire season.
Both TEs finished the season strong, but neither consistently dominated last fall. The fact that both exist on the roster limits the upside of each. These two might be more popular in bestball formats rather than standard CFF leagues. You really don’t want to have to guess correctly when and which will pop off.
Temple is always viable to be a low performing program each season; which is usually good for pass volume but also problematic with regards to TD production. They could be very improved this season behind E.J. Warner, though.
So is there a big difference between DMR and agent Smith? Well, DMR finished with 47 targets on the season vs. Smith’s 40, so not really on that front. Over the final three games, DMR ate 27 targets, Smith had 21. Again, not a huge difference. Smith had less variance in his targets over that stretch, never garnering less than 5 in a game, whereas DMR had a low of 2 targets vs. Cincinnati. DMR finished with 366 yards and 2 scores (9.3 FPG), Smith finished with 346 yards and 4 scores (7.6 FPG). They both actually finished 2022 with the exact same amount of fantasy points (what are the odds of that?)—83.6. The difference is that DMR did it in 9 games vs. Smith’s 11. Where there is a large discrepancy is in the ADP. DMR finished June with an average ADP of 180, Smith isn’t even in the C2C database as far as I can tell. I assume that means he’s going un-drafted. So while the secret on DMR is out, you can still acquire a piece of this Temple offence that is eligible in the TE spot for your roster virtually free of cost.
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