by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
Rice head football coach David Bailiff announced Wednesday the names of 17 high school seniors who have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Owls for the 2017 season.
“Signing Day is always a day to celebrate and today we are fired up to have this amazing group of men in the Rice Football family,” Bailiff said. “Thirteen of them made the decision last summer to make a commitment to us and they stood firm in their belief that Rice was the best place to further their careers. They stayed through us through thick and thin. I think it says a lot about their character but also a lot about the hard work this coaching staff put in. “
The 2017 class features 15 players who honed their talents in Texas high schools, with seven coming from the 5A ranks, six from the 6A level and one each from 4A and the TAPPS classification.
The Owls also added their ninth recruit from Canada in Bailiff’s 11 years at Rice in lineman Gregor MacKellar and kicker Will Harrison from Westfield, Indiana who helped lead his school to its first state championship. Harrison was one of 11 signees who reached postseason play in their senior seasons.
The class breakdown reveals four offensive linemen, three wide receivers, linebackers and defensive backs and one quarterback, defensive lineman, kicker and tight end.
Eight of the players are products of the Houston area and six were featured in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s Top 300 at the start of the year.
“We think this is a class that can win championships and these are players who are great fits at Rice University,” Bailiff added.
Wednesday press conference was held in the Trauber Suite of Tudor Fieldhouse instead of the Owls new Brian Patterson Center, because Rice is hosting the Atlanta Falcons during their preparations for Super Bowl LI, which will be played at NRG Stadium on Sunday.
“We are over here today because of the Falcons’ practice,” Bailiff noted. “That’s one of the tradeoffs we’ve had to make. But it’s wonderful for the city and what they are leaving behind (an upgraded grass practice field) is really going to help Rice Football.”
While Signing Day is always a cause for a momentary pause to celebrate the efforts of the past year, Bailiff noted that the cycle almost immediately begins again.
“It’s an exciting class and I can’t wait to get them here in June, but tomorrow we’ll go back to work recruiting our next class tomorrow,” Bailiff added.