Temple University defensive tackle Daniel Archibong told reporters at the school’s NFL pro day that one thing he learned from Temple’s football program is how to prepare his mind.
“The first thing I say is mental toughness,” Archibong said. “And I say mental toughness is pretty broad but, you know, just being able to perform in multiple different circumstances.”
Archibong was one of eight former Temple football stars who displayed their best in front of 20 NFL team representatives on Tuesday for Temple’s pro day. The 6’5, 295 lb. Archibong showed his combination of strength, speed and athleticism and said he felt good about his performance.
“My position drills went well,” Archibong said. “And I think that’s kind of, you know, most important especially for a (defensive) lineman. They want to see you bend, they want to see you move, they want to see how you can get out of different body positions. So I thought overall it was a good day.”
The Springfield, PA, native came to Temple as a two-star recruit according to 247sports.com. Archibong did not take long to outplay his two-star rating. This past season, Archibong finished with 89 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks for the Owls. During his junior year, Archibong was awarded a single-digit jersey, a Temple tradition, symbolizing the toughest players on the team.
According to Owlsports.com, star wide receiver Brenden Mack also had a good pro day. With his 6’5 217 lb. frame, Mack caught the eyes of scouts after posting a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash.
“I talked to quite a few scouts today,” Mack said. “I talked to the Eagles scout, the Titans, I actually worked with the San Francisco scout today. Jaguars and Chargers, I spoke to those scouts as well. They were impressed with how I ran.”
Mack’s speed was apparent during his time with the Owls. The big-bodied receiver had deceptive speed for his frame and led to a 2018 sophomore season that ended with 44 catches for 601 yards and five touchdowns. Despite an impressive sophomore season Mack went on to outdo himself by posting career high numbers in 2019. During that season, Mack finished with a career high 59 receptions for 904 yards and seven touchdowns. Along with several cancelled games, a thumb injury put Mack out for most of his senior season in 2020.
Despite a lackluster season that was largely due to COVID-19 cancellations, players spoke positively about where they have been with Temple and where they hope to be in the future. Many of the players spoke about Temple underclassmen that they expect to make an impact for the team next season. Mack and Archibong both had a handful to say about the players to look out for next year.
“Just because I left, they still have lethal weapons,” Mack said. “We’ve still got Jaden Blue, everybody knows who Jaden Blue is. Randle Jones. Randle Jones is probably going to be the shocker out of everybody because I don’t know why, but a lot of people sleep on him. He has speed, he has good hands, and great routes. And we have a couple of young guys who look like they can step up and make some plays.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Archibong brought on the same praises and challenged the up-and-coming Owls defensive linemen.
“I speak highly of these guys because they’ve been vetted and they’ve been put through the ringer just like I have,” Archibong said. “So my expectations for those guys are through the roof.”
Archibong mentioned freshman defensive tackle Nick Bags as someone he is excited to see next season. Archibong said after recently seeing Bags he had already noticed an increase in size and football knowledge. He challenged Bags and the rest of the underclassmen to keep up the “Wild boys tradition,” which is heavily valued by Temple defensive lineman to stay vicious and dominant in the trenches.
For many, the final years of college are the end of the road for college football careers. According to a study done by the NCAA in 2019, only 3.8% of division 1 players were drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. 11% of that small group came from power five conferences (Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, SEC, Big 12). But, the statistics and big conferences did not hinder Archibong’s confidence a bit. When he was asked by reporters if he ever pictured himself being in this position, training for a shot in the NFL, Archibong did not hold back.
“To answer your question bluntly, yes,” Archibong said. “This is something that I imagined for myself, and imagined where I’d be and, you know, strived for.”
Mack, Archibong, and the rest of the former Temple Owls will get their shot to make it to the big stage next month. The NFL Draft will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, from April 29 to May 1.