John Christopher hasn’t been able to relish his final spring with the Temple football team as much as he would like. Because of his class schedule, the fifth-year senior and exercise science major has only been able to practice on Saturdays.
“It’s definitely tough, it’s something we kind of knew was inevitable,” said Christopher. “I’d definitely rather be out there. Not being there, you’re always going to be missing something, but at least if it was going to happen it would happen now (late in my career).
“I’ve been in the system, so after class I come out, run some routes, work on my technique and stay on my playbook mentally because I’m not getting the physical reps.”
With Jalen Fitzpatrick graduating, Christopher is the leading returning receiver for the Owls. He caught 24 passes a year ago despite dealing with a hernia for part of the season.
“I’m ready for whatever role they want me to take up,” said Christopher.
That role appears to be as the slot receiver as players like redshirt freshman Ventell Bryant and redshirt junior Sam Benjamin, as well as some incoming and returning players, man the outside.
“J.C. will be the slot guy,” said offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield. “I don’t know if he’s going to win the Heisman Trophy, but he’s going to go out there and catch a lot of balls.”
Christopher said he is confident with the wide receiver group taking a big jump this year.
“As a group we’ve come a long way and we’re getting gradually better,” said Christopher. “We just want to keep progressing as a group. We don’t have just one or two guys, we have six or seven that can play.
“Ventell Bryant is a guy who is lanky, tough, fast, physical, can make the plays. He has the intangibles and the work ethic. He wants to be great. Offensively we didn’t have the season we wanted to have last year. It was good to be bowl eligible, but we want to win championships. We weren’t happy, but there were good things we can take from it.”
In addition to his production on the field, Christopher has been assigned one of the single-digit numbers that goes to the tough guys on the team the last two years. He takes his leadership responsibility seriously.
“It’s been an honor, most important I want to stay humble by it,” said Christopher.
When he’s been healthy, Christopher has been a player who sees time on most of the special teams units and has done some holding as well. He said it remains to be seen in what spots he’ll be on the field in the fall.
Right now, he’s looking forward to the chance to compete in his final Cherry and White game on Saturday.
“It’s definitely important, it’s crazy to think it’s my last spring game,” said Christopher. “I’m just looking forward to getting on campus, playing a game. I’m going to go out and enjoy it, play as hard as I can, get better as I can. As an offense, we want to show what we can do.”
Christopher ready to lead Owls' receivers
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