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."
Put check marks behind the names of Connor Cella, Reid Mitchell and Tyler Stehling on your 2012 Recruit Checklist.... NLI's are in
Brandon Dawkins uncle, Bert Adams, originally signed with the Owls in 1982, but signed with the California Angels after they selected him in the 27th round of the 1982 June Draft. Three years later, he returned to Rice and lettered for two years as a linebacker.
Faxes in: Zac Espinosa, Garrett Furhman, Connor Patterson, Spencer Stanley, Michael Warren, Cameron Decell and Brandon Dawkins
Cornerback J.T. Blasingame from Atlanta, Georgia is the first 2012 signee to hit the fax.
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
When Robert Griffin III of Baylor was named the winner of the 2011 John Heisman Memorial Trophy, he became the 11th winner of the award to have faced Rice en route to winning the award named for the legendary coach who concluded his career by coaching the Owls from 1924-27.
Griffin led the Bears to a 56-31 win in September, becoming the first Heisman winner to face the Owls since Ricky Williams of Texas in 1998.
The Downtown Athletic Club of New York first presented a national player of the year award in 1935 to Chicago's Jay Berwanger. Heisman, who had became the club's athletic director in 1930, was instrumental in the creating the scope as well the voting procedures for the award. When he passed away the following October, the club unanimously voted to name their new award in his honor.
Two years later, the Owls had their first face-to-face matchup with an eventual winner of the Heisman, as Davey O'Brien led TCU to a 29-7 win at Rice Field.
A decade later, SMU's Doak Walker led the Mustangs to a 33-7 win over Rice at Rice Field and went on to capture the honor to as a junior. The Owls turned the tables on the reigning Heisman winner in his senior season (1949), as the Owls rallied for a 41-27 win in Dallas on their way to a Southwest Conference title and a #5 finish in the national polls.
Rice faced its first non-conference Heisman winner in 1954 when they dropped a tough 13-7 decision at Wisconsin. The Badgers where led by bruising fullback Alan "The Horse" Ameche and came into the game ranked third in the nation A national television audience saw Dicky Maegle and the Owls take a 7-6 lead into the game's final moments before Ameche punched in the game-winner in the final moments.
Maegle would become the first Owl to find his way into the award's final vote totals, finishing sixth with 258 points--including 36 first-place ballots, with remains the highest number of points and first-place votes for any Owl.
Rice would face the eventual Heisman winners in three consecutive seasons from 1957-59, posting a memorable win over one and providing a second with a signature moment in his Heisman campaign.
The Owls took on top-ranked Texas A&M in 1957, who were led by John David Crow who was destined to win the Heisman. However on this day, the stars on the field wore blue and gray, most notably King Hill whose interceptions foiled Aggie drives, whose punts pinned them deep when starting drives, and who PAT after the Owls lone touchdown proved to be the difference in the game as the Owls' prevailed 7-6. Hill's efforts that day earned him a place on numerous All American teams but did not generate any support for the Heisman.
One year later, Pete Dawkins and his Army teammates found themselves on their own 36, locked in a 7-7 tie with less than a minute left vs. the Owls at Rice Stadium on Homecoming. But Dawkins got behind the Owls defense and hauled in a 64-yard scoring pass to give the Cadets a 14-7 win and set the stage to win the Heisman.
LSU's Billy Cannon would had his Heisman moment later in the 1959 season, but he opened that year with a 26-3 win over LSU at Tiger Stadium. It would mark the last time the Owls would face a Heisman winner in his winning season for nearly two decades.
The Owls would return to the Heisman voting ranks in 1976 when quarterback Tommy Kramer, who earned consensus All America honors that year while becoming just the second quarterback to surpass 3,000 yards in a season, finished fifth in the voting, one spot ahead of Giff Nielsen of BYU.
Earl Campbell would break that Heisman-less streak in 1977, and Billy Sims of Oklahoma made it back-to-back encounters. It then took 11 years until Andre Ware of Houston would learn of his selection as the Heisman winner at Rice Stadium, as the Cougars and Owls had played for the Bayou Bucket on the day of the award's announcement.