One of the biggest reasons that folks are looking to the Wildcats to rekindle the success of the two decades of dominance under head coach Bob McQueen from the late 1970's to the late 1990's, a run that featured two state titles, was they play of their young players.
Sophomore sensation Lache Seastrunk ran for more than 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2007 and is being regarded as the top offensive prospect in the state of Texas in the Class of 2010. Seastrunk however was not the only sophomore for Temple to make a big impact as linebacker Derrick Davis also made his presence felt on the gridiron in 2007.
Davis was a first team all-District selection as Temple won the District 13-5A title and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2003, falling in an overtime thriller in the first round of the Class 5A, Division II playoffs to eventual state finalist Pflugerville. Davis recorded 95 tackles and led a much improved Temple defense as the Wildcats went undefeated in district play last season. At 5-foot-10 and 225 pounds, Davis has the classic build of an inside linebacker and displays good lateral quickness and has a nose for the football.
With the success that not only Davis but the Wildcats had last season, they enter 2008 in a revamped District 12-5A, that includes two-time Class 4A state finalist Copperas Cove, with a bulls-eye on their collective backs. Davis says however that the Wildcats are prepared to deal with the expectations.
"The expectations are very high because we aren't an underdog anymore," said Davis.
With the expectations comes the need to put in more work and Davis and his teammates went to work hard in the offseason program.
"For me it was horrible but it was real good," said Davis with a grin. "It was a whole, whole, whole bunch of running and lifting. Nobody held anything back and the coaches didn't baby us. Everyone was lifting and running hard and the coaches coached hard. There was also a lot of working when the coaches were gone which was real good."
One of the benefits of a tough offseason was Temple advancing to the state 7-on-7 tournament last month College Station. With some big time talent like Seastrunk and recent Baylor commit Tevin Reese along with Davis Temple played deep into the winner's bracket, which is a test to the type athletes that they have on the field this fall.
"It's all fun and games but there is some heated competition," said Davis. "Its fun to get out here and get a look at what you are going to see next year and see what's out there and what you are going to be up against.
"It's good to see what you have as a team," Davis added. "It's good to see what you need to work on and things like that."
Davis' athleticism and instincts are a main reason why he has already picked some interest on the recruiting front as coaches from Oklahoma State and Baylor have already made contact with Davis. This fall Davis could see his recruiting stock soar as he will share backfield duties with Seastrunk and lead the Wildcats' defense in hopes to take Temple beyond their bi district appearance last season.
"Everybody knows who we are and expecting us to make noise. The expectations are high but we are still shooting for the top."