One look at Darik Dillard's extracurricular activities and you wonder when he slept. In addition to taking teams to the regional quarterfinals in both football and basketball and running track, he placed first in an art show and a state architecture competition while also serving as the treasurer for both the National Honor Society and his senior class.....and I think there are some other things we might have missed...
Offensive line recruit Brandon Dawkins brings a well-rounded athletic resume to Rice, including swimming the 50 meter freestyle for the state champs and playing water polo. He also has served as a clerk for a pair of Dallas County Criminal Court judges.
Owls' offensive line coach Ronnie Vinklarek on the day he thought he scored a major recruiting coup
"I was at UH working for John Jenkins and I was recruiting ND Kalu. We were coming down the stretch to to signing day and I get a call from ND. He tells me that he's coming to Houston. I hung up quick and went to tell the other coaches about it. I was fired up that we had him. The next day, his high school coach called me and said in my excitement, I didn't hear the whole conversation. ND was coming to Houston, no doubt, but he was coming here to play for Rice. It's a lot funnier to tell now than it was at the time."
Justin Carter, a safety from Hoover, Alabama and Darik Dillard, a running back from San Antonio are the latest to send in their NLI's.
Carter played in a defensive backfield at Spain Park HS that included three others who will sign NLIs today.
Dillard is no stranger to the sidelines of Rice Stadium, having spent time each year at Owls' practices before the start of school, watching his older brother Jarett.
Owls' cornerback coach Larry Edmondson recalls the danger of using props to make a point.
"I was at Southern Miss and our head coach, Curley Hallman and I were making an in-home visit. Coach Hallman was making a point about the values he expected in his recruits and he extended his hands to the recruit and his parents and said 'Now, I have three rings on my hands. I have my wedding ring, my class ring, and a national championship ring. Which one do you think is the most important?' The point he was trying to make was the class ring was the most important because it represented the commitment to receiving his degree. But the recruit answered that he liked the national championship ring. Coach Hallman kept trying to make his point, but each time he asked, the recruit kept saying how much he liked the championship ring. He asked coach if he could hold it and as he pulled it off his finger, coach dropped it and it fell in the ventilation vent on the floor. We spent the next hour of the visit trying to get that ring out of the vent. We wound up signing the player, but it sure wasn't on the strength of that home visit."
Owls' cornerback coach Chris Thurmond on the perils of recruiting twins.
"Years ago, I was recruiting a set of twins and on signing day, we got the signature of one of them right away, but his brother started to waiver. So we had to wait, and wait, and wait. In the end he signed as well and both of them turned out to be great players. But I guess the one brother was enjoying the who recruiting experience he wanted to extend it as long as he could."
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."