Owls' receivers coach Billy Lynch was at Indiana and in a pitched battle for the signature of Orhian Johnson from St. Petersburg, Florida in 2008.
"Johnson was a high school quarterback, and we were recruiting him as such. Ohio State was looking at him primarily as a safety, but held open the idea of quarterback if they didn't sign another one. Well, the "other one" was Terrell Pryor, and as you remember, he strung out his decision for another week. When it came time on signing day, Orhian had take the gamble as to where Pryor would go. Well, Pryor did go to Ohio State, but Orhian has been their starting safety, so it worked out pretty well for him."
In 2011, recruits in parts of Texas had to worry about an arctic blast that knocked out power and wrecking havoc on Signing Day plans. 2011 Owls' signee Grant Peterson remembers it well:
"I remember walking up real early and just being so anxious to sign, but when I got to school it was pitch black since the power was out. I couldn't even fax over the signed papers. The power would come on and off but I didn't have time to fax the papers. Eventually was able to get the fax send, but the power was still on and off the rest of the day. I remember when the news stations came to record the whole thing they were filming us in complete darkness. I couldn't see anything but a bright light. We were sitting at the table in front of the whole school in complete darkness."
Signing Day 2012 is here.
The fax machine's day in the spotlight is at hand as the Owls next generation of football student-athletes will be sending in their National Letters of Intent in today, confirming their acceptance of a scholarship to compete for Rice.
The R Blog will be live at the Football Office on Wednesday morning with updates as the NLI's roll in as well as with some memories of signing days past.
David Bailiff will formally announce the class at a 2:30 press conference and fans can tune in for free on OwlVision .
Later today, Rice football fans will have a chance to join Coach Bailiff and members of his coaching staff at reception to celebrate Signing Day 2012 at 5:30 in the R Room. Bailiff and staff will show highlights of each member of the class. The party will run from 5:30-7:00 p.m. and will be held at the R Room at Rice Stadium to allow Owls fans to also attend the Rice men's basketball game against UTEP.
Tickets for the event are $10 person, which includes BBQ, beer and other refreshments. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or fans can purchase in advance by calling the Rice Athletics Ticket Office at (713) 522-OWLS.
Three years ago, Nate Richards was caught up in the hype and ceremonies that have become common place at countless high schools on the first Wednesday in February.
He joined a number of his Keller High School teammates in celebrating the culmination of countless hours of work in the classroom, the weight room and the practice field by signing a National Letter of Intent to accept a college scholarship to play football at Central Arkansas University.
Three years later, Richards name will again be one of those announced as signing a NLI to play college football at a Signing Day press conference, but with far less fanfare.
Coming off a season when he earned Junior College All American honors at Trinity Valley Community College, Richards signed his second NLI in December at home in front of his parents, confirming his decision to become a Rice Owl.
"It's not quite the same as the last time," Richards said recently. "That morning, we signed the letters of intent in the morning and faxed them into our schools. Our coaches were pretty good about making a big day out of it, so we did a public signing at the school. It was fun to be with everyone and be excited for all of them.
"This time it was just me and my parents at home when I signed in December. It was my Dad's job to figure out the fax machine, but he couldn't get it to work. We had to run to the Fed Ex store and get it sent off to the coaches at Rice," he laughed.
Richards, who plans to go to on to law school and study Constitutional Law, had attended Rice's Junior Day in 2008 in hopes of pursuing his athletic and academic dreams on South Main from the start.
"It didn't work for me then. The coaches said they had filled their spots for offensive linemen. I wound up signing with Central Arkansas. I redshirted my first year, but by 2010 I felt it really wasn't working out for me. I called my high school coach and he did some checking around and set me up to go to Trinity Valley, since they needed a center," he added.
Even as his season at Trinity Valley progressed, Richards was back on the recruiting trail, and this time, Richards and Rice proved to be a perfect fit.
The Owls were in need of a center, having lost the two players (Keshawn Carrington and Eric Ball) who had handled all of the snaps over the last three years. Richards, who had grown to be 6-4 and 305 pounds, and was armed with an equally impressive academic resume, was not limited in his choices the way many JC players can be, and he knew what a Rice degree would mean for his postgraduate plans.
"I knew I wanted to go to an FBS school, so I knew it was important to not let my academics slide. I only had one more chance to make this happen," he stated "They really prepared us well at Trinity to make the transition to a four-year school."
Three years ago, Richards' time following signing day was packed with the final days of high school, including a rare break from the rigors of spring practice.
This time around, Signing Day is more the official start of the final countdown to the start of spring drill for the Owls, when Richards will have a chance to stake a claim in the middle of a youthful group of offensive linemen. His schedule is filled with Winter Conditioning workouts and his first classes at Rice. No need for any additional ceremony to acknowledge what it already clear.
While the journey had a few more twists and turns than he envisioned in 2009, Richards finds himself exactly where he always he had hoped.
The Rice Owls women's basketball team (10-10, 4-3) plays at Houston (2-16, 1-5) on Saturday. Game time is set for 4 p.m. inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
The game will be televised by FSN. Fans across the country may watch on any of the channels listed below:
Network, Date,Time, Zone, (L,D.R)
FOX SPORTS ARIZONA (PLUS), Saturday - 01/28/2012, 3:00 PM, Mountain, Live
FOX SPORTS DETROIT (PLUS), Saturday - 01/28/2012, 5:00 PM, Eastern, Live
FOX SPORTS FLORIDA, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 5:00 PM, Eastern, Live
FOX SPORTS HOUSTON, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 4:00 PM, Central, Live
FOX SPORTS MIDWEST, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 4:00 PM, Central, Live
FOX SPORTS NORTH (PLUS), Saturday - 01/28/2012, 4:00 PM, Central, Live
FOX SPORTS OHIO (Non Reds), Saturday - 01/28/2012, 5:00 PM, Eastern, Live
FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 4:00 PM, Central, Live
FOX SPORTS WEST, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 2:00 PM, Pacific, Live,
FOX SPORTS WISCONSIN, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 4:00 PM, Central, Live
SPORTSOUTH (Non Bobcats), Saturday - 01/28/2012, 5:00 PM, Eastern, Live
COMCAST BAY AREA, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 2:00 PM, Pacific, Live
MSG PLUS, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 5:00 PM, Eastern, Live
ROOT SPORTS (Pittsburgh Region), Saturday - 01/28/2012,5:00 PM, Eastern, Live
ROOT SPORTS (Rocky Mountain Region), Sat. - 01/28/2012, 3:00 PM, Mountain, Live
FOX SPORTS HOUSTON (Houston Rockets), Sat. - 01/28/2012, 10:00 PM, CT, Repeat
SPORTSOUTH, Saturday - 01/28/2012, 11:00 PM, Eastern, Repeat
SPORTSOUTH, Monday - 01/30/2012, 1:00 PM, Eastern, Repeat
ROOT SPORTS (Northwest Region), Saturday - 01/28/2012, 6:00 PM, Pacific, Delay