Editor's Note: The Rice Athletic Department is introducing a new initiative called "Tomorrow's Leaders" with the goal of developing student athletes into individuals who are ready to excel in today's competitive environment. Rice safety Andray Downs is the first student-athlete to be featured as part of the introduction of the program
Anyone who knew Andray Downs when he was growing up in Garland, TX would not be surprised that he has embraced the challenges of leadership and community involvement during his years at Rice. Downs had never shied from responsibility in high school and had also embraced at an early age the importance of giving something back to his community.
But those same people might be a little surprised to hear that the football player who left for Houston in the fall of 2002 is now an aspiring sculptor who spent part of his summer reviewing data as part of NASA research on the protective tiles that protect the space shuttle.
For Downs, the offer to play football at Rice was the conduit to a much larger opportunity, an education at one of the country's premiere centers of learning.
"I had a good idea what my major was going to be, " Downs said. "But you have an opportunity as a freshman to branch out and take courses in different division areas. It gave me a chance to study some things that I might not have tried at another school."
On a suggestion from a teammate, Downs took a sculpture course and discovered an outlet for expression. A course in statistics led to a chance to participate in a project with NASA, where he poured over data looking for a better method to identify and reinforce those areas of the shuttle's protective tile covering that experienced the greatest temperature spikes during re-entry.
While his academic resume broadened with diverse flourishes, he has continued to serve as a leader and a mentor to students ranging from new freshman on campus for the first time to eager elementary students who are always able to elicit one of Downs' infectious smiles.
In recognition of his embracement of the full range of possibilities available to any student at Rice while also excelling on the gridiron, Downs was honored by the Kiwanis Club of Houston with the George H.W. Bush Kiwanis Sports Hero Award . The student leader from Garland found himself shaking the hand of and accepting an award from a former President of the United States.
He is Andray Downs, and he is one of Tomorrow's Leaders.
Soccer Team Plays Friday In Corpus-Christi;...
08/25/2015 - W. Soccer - The Rice soccer team is off campus for a pair games this weekend. The Owls (1-1-0 overall) play on the road at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday (...
Rice Athletics launches inaugural AD podcast
08/25/2015 - General Release - Rice Athletics is excited to announce the release of the inaugural AD podcast with Direct or Athletics Joe Karlgaard. The podcast, which will be...
Golden! Rice Defeats San Jose State 2-1 In...
08/23/2015 - W. Soccer - The Rice soccer team rallied for a late goal in regulation before claiming a dramatic 2-1 double-overtime victory over visiting San Jose State...
Football Holds Second Scrimmage
08/22/2015 - Football - The Rice football team completed its second scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday, practicing for two hours at Rice Stadium.
Soccer Falls To No. 5 Texas A&M In Season-Opene...
08/22/2015 - W. Soccer - The Rice soccer team took a 2-1 advantage over visiting Texas A&M into the intermission, but the No. 5 ranked Aggies scored three second half goals...
Follow The Owls On Snapchat
08/26/2015 - W. Volleyball - Be sure and follow the Rice volleyball team on Snapchat for the upcoming 2015 season as each student-athlete will take turns capturing videos and...
Volleyball To Hold Meet And Greet Aug. 26
08/20/2015 - W. Volleyball - The Rice Owls volleyball team will host its eighth annual Meet and Greet on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. in Fox Gym.
Jackson Named to Campbell Tyler Rose Award...
08/19/2015 - Football - Rice senior quarterback Driphus Jackson is among 39 players who have been named to the third annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List which...
- Top Videos /
- Online Store