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From The U To The R in 48 Hours

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That David Bailiff is a man of his word played a crucial, and humorous, role in the process of former Miami quarterback Taylor Cook finding his way to South Main from Coral Gables.

On the morning after Cook announced his intentions to transfer out of Miami, Bailiff sat in his office with a scholarship release from the Hurricanes in one hand and the phone in the other. On the line was Rice Consolidated High School coach Brad Dumont, with whom Bailiff had crafted a fruitful relationship after recruiting several of Dumont's players while coaching at Texas State. Dumont made it clear to Cook that Bailiff was trustworthy, which factored into Rice being on the short list of schools Cook considered once he opted to leave Miami.

Two days later, with Bailiff anxious to confirm that Cook's commitment to the Owls hadn't wavered over the time he attended practice Thursday afternoon and the moment he was scheduled to attend class Friday morning, Owls offensive graduate assistant Tom Keresztury flanked Cook to make sure he attended his 9 a.m. class: Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Bailiff promised on Thursday he would make sure that Cook was enrolled the following day, and once the relationship between Cook and Rice was consumated, Keresztury made the call.

The (Quarterback From) Eagle (Lake) Has Landed.

"His dad (Robert) flew to get him, and on the way driving back (from Miami) they were going through the options, called and committed," Bailiff said. "They liked our offense, they liked the school, they liked the fact that we have so much youth on the team, and it's close to home."
 
That Eagle Lake is roughly 70 miles west of Houston certainly played a part in Cook transferring to Rice, but the relationships Bailiff has cultivated with this state's high school coaches positioned Rice to welcome its third top-tier transfer in 12 months. First came former Alabama quarterback Nick Fanuzzi, who joined the program just prior to last season, and tailback Sam McGuffie followed after leaving Michigan during the semester break last winter.

Now comes Cook who, like Fanuzzi and McGuffie, is a Texan who originally signed with an out-of-state program. Bailiff has maintained that his ties to Texas high school coaches is why he likely won't leave the state to take a coaching job, and while he wouldn't toot his own horn while discussing Cook's decision, it is clear Bailiff has earned the trust of his coaching peers.

Cook took a battery of tests and was not made available on Friday. That didn't prevent Bailiff from gushing over his latest uncovered gem. With Fanuzzi, a third-year sophomore, redshirt freshman Ryan Lewis and true freshman Taylor McHargue in the fold, Bailiff will no longer pursue a quarterback for the Class of 2010. At 6-7, 235 pounds, Cook offers plus size, surprising athleticism and versatility - Cook was also an all-state punter. Additionally, his arrival signifies that another quarterback competition will be on tap when spring drills open.

"When players are available that are good people that make this football team better, we have to take them," Bailiff said of Cook, who was assigned residence at Hanszen. "We will take a quality transfer that's a good academic fit at Rice."

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7 Comments

I noticed on his Miami bio that he also pitched. I know this isn't a factor in Cook's case, but it made me wonder whether the eligibility rules are different for football than other sports, or are all transferring athletes required to sit out 2 semesters? How long did you know about this and have to sit on it because of the new job?

MyMrBig: Baseball players are now forced to sit out a year after transferring between Division I programs, a recent change to the rules. As for Cook, I learned on Wednesday that he was visiting on Thursday but, as a Rice employee, was forced to wait until he enrolled on Friday before I could write anything. That will happen. - MK

Excellent PR for Rice. Now if only he could land us some all star defensive transfers...

Cowl: At this blistering rate, it will happen soon enough. - MK

Thanks MK for the background story.

Good story, MK. Thanks. Bailiff has proven to be a great fit here.

I think the toughest offense our defense might face each week will come against the scout team.

Nice write-up MK. How remarkable is it that Rice has three big time transfers (in addition to the solid recruiting classes Bailiff has signed)? It's not hyperbole to say that these three transfers together form a vital part of maintaining and growing a resurgent football program at Rice. Recruits notice things like 10-win seasons, bowl games and high-profile local kids playing for the Owls. Thanks go to Coach Bailiff for not only reassembling a program left shattered by the Tulsa Troll, but for doing it with integrity and maintaining the trust of his players and the coaching community.

Exciting to see the possibilities for next year and beyond. Bailiff looks to have a pretty exciting future with this team and these players.

Hey MK, will the depth chart for the UAB game be posted in its usual place on riceowls.com?

d1owls4life: I would assume so. If not now, soon. - MK

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