Two members of the Boston College front seven will experience a visitor’s homecoming when the Eagles visit Temple Owls at noon Saturday.
Middle linebacker Isaiah “IGM” Graham-Mobley and tackle Khris Banks were Temple refugees who BC coach Jeff Hafley extracted from the NCAA transfer portal to fill deficiencies in the Eagles’ defense.
“For Kris and IGM, I know this will be a meaningful game and I hope every game is a meaningful game for them so I hate to say it is a more meaningful game,” said Hafley. “But certainly, playing the team you were on, there has got to be some emotions there.
“But they are two guys I am really glad are on the team.”
BC graduated three starting linebackers from 2020 and two of them, Isaiah McDuffie (Packers) and Max Richardson (Raiders), made the jump to NFL rosters. Graham-Mobley, a 6-1, 230-pound graduate from King of Prussia, Pa., took over at the MIKE and started the first two games of the season.
“IGM has been a blessing to have here, he’s been an unbelievable human being,” said Hafley. “He is a great leader and he’s got a ton of energy and he is starting to feel his way around our scheme.
“He is physical, long, rangy and a great guy.”
The interior of the BC defensive line was thinned to the point of extinction by graduation and injuries. Banks has platooned with Cam Horsley while learning a new system under defensive coordinator Tem Lukabu. Banks is a 6-2, 294-pound, redshirt junior from Paterson, N.J. who has been a great addition to the Eagles’ run defense.
“Khris Banks has been a great help to an injury riddled D-line,” said Hafley. “We are still down so many guys and we are lucky we got him.
“He’s is guy who I keep telling has so much potential and upside. I’m not saying that he is not playing well. I just see such and bright future for the guy and I hope he continues to get better.”
Graham-Mobley played in 11 games for Temple last season and finished with 26 tackles, two TFL and a pair of sacks. He recorded four solo tackles and two assists with a TFL in his BC debut, a 51-0 victory over Colgate in the season opener at Alumni Stadium.
In last Saturday’s 45-28 win at UMass, Graham-Mobley and defensive end Shitta Sillah shared the team lead with seven tackles apiece. Graham-Mobley and Banks are hoping to be difference-makers against his old mates while keeping the emotions on an even keel.
“It is definitely going to be a surreal moment because that is a place that I have called home the last five years being a sixth-year student now,” said Graham-Mobley. “Just making sure we are not getting too emotional and staying with the game plan and understanding this is just another road trip.”
There are other Temple/Philadelphia connections in play. BC athletic director Patrick Kraft served in the same capacity at Temple for five years. Injured kicker Aaron Boumerhi transferred from Temple in 2019. Tailback Pat Garwo, who rushed for a career high 160 yards at UMass, is from Levittown, Pa., outside Philly.