Baylor's Rhule back to Philly for NFL draft with former Owls

Baylor coach Matt Rhule is spending the rest of this week back in Philadelphia, where he will be at the NFL draft with his former Temple players while also touting the Bears.

''I'm there to support my Temple kids, and I'm there to sell Baylor to future recruits, and make sure that all kids that I'm recruiting know that our process is doing things that no one thought was possible,'' Rhule said Tuesday. ''Five kids made NFL teams last year from the Temple Owls.''

There will also be appearances on the NFL Network and visits to some of his favorite restaurants - he made reservations in advance - in the town where he spent 10 of the past 11 seasons. He is staying in a hotel only about five minutes where he used to live.

Rhule became Baylor's coach in December , fresh off an American Athletic Conference title and a second consecutive 10-win season with the Owls.

The Bears wrapped up their first spring under Rhule with their Green and Gold game Saturday. They spent the 15 spring working on new offenses and defensive schemes, while also taking care of their academics and doing more than 700 hours of community service.

Temple linebacker Haason Reddick , a potential first-round pick, invited Rhule to be with him in the green room at the draft Thursday night. Owls offensive tackle Dion Dawkins is also expected to be a high pick, and Temple has at least two other players that could be drafted in the later rounds.

''I'm there because those kids asked me to come. It's as gratifying an experience as I've ever had,'' Rhule told the AP by phone before leaving the Waco campus for Philadelphia.

Among the Bears expected to get drafted are receiver KD Cannon, who left Baylor after his junior season, and center Kyle Fuller. Quarterback Seth Russell, who had each of his last two seasons cut short by injuries, could also get an NFL chance.

Rhule first went to Temple as an assistant under Al Golden in 2006, then spent the next decade there - except for the 2012 season in the NFL as an assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants. He returned to Philadelphia as the Owls head coach in 2013, and they went from 2-10 and 6-6 seasons to the best two-season stretch in school history.

''Those older kids, I think they recognize how hard all of our assistant coaches and myself worked for them, and we recognize how hard they worked for us,'' he said. ''When I left, they understood that this was the next step in my journey, and I understood that going to the NFL was the next step in their journey.''

Like he did at Temple, Rhule he wants every kid that comes to Baylor to want to get an education, win conference and national championships, and want to play in the NFL. The goal is for players to try to excel in everything that they do.

''It's not about trying to pick one thing to be great at, it's about trying to be great at everything that's important to you,'' Rhule said. ''That's a major step for kids and for programs.''

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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