The Temple Owls were well represented in the NFL draft last week. Bernard Pierce, Temple’s All-American running back, was selected in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens. Pierce, former Glen Mills standout from Ardmore, was the 84th pick overall in the draft.
He is the 62nd Temple football player chosen in the NFL draft since 1937. Pierce is the first Temple player to be picked by the Ravens (since 1996) in school history and the fourth Owl to be selected by a Baltimore NFL team, joining Colts’ selections defensive back Anthony Young (1985), running back Mark Bright (1980) and quarterback Steve Joachim (1975).
As a junior, Pierce became the Owls’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (54), and points scored (324). He also set the season records for rushing TDs (27), total TDs (27), points scored (162), and 100-yard rushing games (9), while setting game records for rushing TDs in a game (five at Maryland) and points scored (30 at Maryland). He was also named ECAC Offensive Player of the Year and the 2009 MAC Freshman of the Year.
The Chicago Bears selected Temple tight end Evan Rodriguez with the 16th pick of the fourth round (111th pick overall), while the Detroit Lions chose linebacker Tahir Whitehead with the third pick of the fifth round (138th overall) of the draft. That brings the total to three players drafted from Temple.
Rodriguez, who played in the East–West Shrine Game, is a two-time first-team All-MAC selection. He played in all 13 games with 12 starts at tight end. He led the Owls with 479 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions.
Whitehead was a second-team All-MAC selection, and the defensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl. He finished third in team tackling with 70 tackles, a team-best 13.5 tackles-for-loss of 66 yards, five sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Seven Temple players have signed rookie free agent contracts with NFL teams, bringing the Owls total NFL signees to 10, tying the largest class in school history. The players who have reportedly signed: Pat Boyle, offensive lineman, Detroit Lions; Morkeith Brown, defensive end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Derek Dennis, offensive lineman, Miami Dolphins; Stephen Johnson, linebacker, New Orleans Saints; Adrian Robinson, defensive end, Pittsburgh Steelers; Rod Streater, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders and Wayne Tribue, offensive lineman, Denver Broncos.