Feb. 7, 2007
Rice head football coach David Bailiff announced the signing of 22 high school seniors to National Letters of Intent to play for the Owls.
"We are bigger, stronger and faster and that is what was needed as we build upon what was accomplished here last season," Bailiff said.
All but two of the recruits played their high school football in Texas, including six in the Greater Houston area. The class includes four offensive linemen, three running backs, linebackers and defensive ends, two defensive tackles, defensive backs and athletes, and one tight end, wide receiver and quarterback.
"To win in college football you have to stop the run" Bailiff said. "We took five defensive linemen and some of them are going to have to play early so we can try to accomplish that next season."
Bailiff said 12 players who had committed prior to his becoming head coach in January had held firm in their desire to play for Rice. "The commitments we held are a tribute to how hard David Beaty and Michael Smith worked to keep things together at the start."
He noted that his staff inherited just one commitment from the Houston area, but the Owls signed a total of six today. "We are going to make the Houston area a priority in the future and we have shown that in our first three weeks here," he stated.
2007 Rice Owls Recruits
Keshawn Carrington, TE, 6-3, 240, Missouri City (Marshall) Two-year starter for coach Dennis Brantley who earned academic all district honors this season while paving the way for the Buffalo's to reach the playoffs. Graded out at better than 80% in each game as a senior and was twice named the Buffalo's player of the week. Also competed in track.
Bailiff: "He was a tackle in high school, but we want to look at him at tight end. He is an athletic player and we feel we need to get bigger on tight end so we can move people at the point of attack and allow us to run the ball"
Taylor Dupree, RB, 6-1, 205, Mesquite (Poteet) Unanimous all-District 10-4A selection while playing on both sides of the ball for coach Charlie Hesse. Rushed for 1,425 yards on 185 carries while scoring 21 TDs and added another 432 in receiving yards. Honorable mention all-state selection. Rushed for 3,027 yards, added another 606 receiving and scored 39 touchdowns in his career. First-team academic all-state. Also played basketball and ran track. Member of the National Honor Society .
Bailiff: "He's a big running back. When you see his video, he's explosive and fast with great vision and great hands out of the backfield."
Kody Emmert, OL, 6-7, 240, Liberty Hills (High) All-District 18-3A selection for the Panthers under coach Jerry Vance, who captured the 3A Division II state title. Worked mostly as a tight end in 2006 after starting at tackle as a junior. Two-time academic all district honoree. Threw the shot and discus in track and finished second in the discus at the regional meet. Competed in the UIL Science competition for three years (2004-06) and won a USAA National English Merit Award.
Bailiff: "We are going to grow our own offensive linemen. He's got great feet and is very athletic. He's going to play tackle for us."
Michael Fuda, WR, 6-0, 180, Katy (High). Unanimous all-District 18-5A selection at wide receiver and kick returner for coach Gary Joseph. Third-team 5A All State by Dave Campbell's Texas Football as a kick returner.... Caught 44 passes for 738 yards and eight scores as a senior. Listed on the Dallas Morning News Hot 100 and the Rivals.com Texas 100 after earning first-team all-state selection as a junior after catching 62 passes for 1399 yards and 19 touchdowns. Earned first-team, 5A All-State honors in baseball in 2006 as a second baseman and was tabbed as a second-team preseason All American in baseball for 2007 by Louisville Slugger.
Bailiff: "I am fired up about Michael. You keep watching that video and he just continues to make plays. We think we hit a home run with Fuda"
Jake Hicks, OL, 6-4, 265, Montgomery (High) Unanimous all-District 18-4A and all Montgomery County selection for coach John Bolfing. Earned honorable mention honors as a junior. Also lettered in powerlifting and in track and earned a bronze medal in the regional meet last year in the discus with a throw of 154 feet. First team academic all district. Enjoys the martial arts and also plays both the guitar and cello.
Bailiff: "Young, when you see him, he has 10 whiskers, but he is already up to 260. We think his upside is tremendous."
Justin Hill, RB, 6-0, 200, Lake Dallas (High) Two-time all-District 9-4A selection after topping 1,000 yards as a junior and senior for coach Michael Young. Rushed for 1,412 yards and 26 touchdowns and caught 27 passes for 512 yards and five scores to earn unanimous all-district honors as a senior as Lake Dallas reached the regional finals for the first time in school history. Honorable mention all-state pick and a member of the Dallas Morning News area top 100. Rushed for four touchdowns in a 38-35 playoff win over Mesquite Poteet and fellow Owl signee Taylor Dupree (who also scored four times). Started at cornerback as a freshman and as a linebacker as a sophomore before moving to offense fulltime as a junior. Second team academic all-state selection.
Bailiff: "He's a big running back. When you see how physical he is. He was also a linebacker and really understands leverages. He can lower a shoulder and knock people back"
Brent Hotard, QB, 6-2, 195, Round Rock (High) First team all-District 14-5A selection who led the Round Rock Dragons to the regional semifinals in his first year at quarterback. Threw for 2,024 yards, completing 133 of 212 passes (62%) and 15 TDs while rushing for 807 yards for coach Lanny Wilson. Moved to quarterback as a senior after earning all district honors as a wide receiver as a junior. Also played baseball at Round Rock. Member of the National Honor Society and active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Special Olympics.
Bailiff: "He's only been a quarterback for one year. He was an all district wide receiver and moved to quarterback as a senior. He has tremendous feet and can get out of trouble with his feet and with his arm. He's got a great arm and is very accurate. His upside is why we settled in on him. We think he's going to be really special at that position."
Chris Jones, DB, 6-3, 175, Arlington (Bowie). All-District 8-5A as a senior for coach Kenny Perry as the Volunteers reached the playoffs for the first time in school history. Named to the Dallas Morning News Top 100 and to Dave Campbell's Texas Football's Top 300. Racked up 108 tackles, forced three fumbles, forced two fumbles and intercepted two passes as a senior. Also a standout hurdler on the track team. Academic all district selection.
Bailiff: "Really a great safety who can really run. He can really hit you."
Randy Kitchens, ATH, 6-3, 190, 4.5, Robinson (High). Quarterbacked the Robinson Rockets to the finals of the state 3A Division II playoffs for coach Brian Lewis. MVP of District 17-3A and an honorable mention all-state selection. Rushed for 1,418 yards and scored 23 touchdowns, and threw for 2,200 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 143 of 283 passes as a senior. Rushed for 2,990 yards and 49 touchdowns in his career, and threw for 5,747 yards and 48 scores. Earned four letters in basketball and three in baseball. A member of the National Honor Society and of the academic all-state team.
Bailiff: "If you look at his video, you know we are a lot more athletic now. He was a quarterback, but there are several positions he could play for us."
Joseph Leary, DB, 6-1, 180, Copperas Cove (High).
All-District 16-4A and honorable mention all-state selection for coach Jack Welch. Totaled 153 total tackles, 5 interceptions and 13 pass breakups for the Bulldogs, who were the runner up in the 4A Division I state playoffs. Totaled 135 tackles as a junior and finished his varsity career with 386 tackles, 12 interceptions, nine tackles for loss (seven sacks) and four defensive touchdowns. Academic all state and all district selection. Active in FCA and in a number of church youth groups.
Bailiff: "As we make this transition to the 4-2-5 we are looking for players like him. He could be in a position to see a lot of playing time."
Kramer Lucio, DE, 6-5, 240, Richardson (Berkner). Unanimous all-District 9-5A selection and team defensive MVP for coach Jim Ledford. Berkner reached the third round of the state playoffs. Credited with 80 tackles on the year, including 14 for loss (five sacks) and nine passes broken up. Listed on Dave Campbell's Texas Football top 300 heading into the year at tight end. Member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta math society. First-team academic all state selection. Involved in his school's student advisory council.
Bailiff: "Another big defensive end who runs really well. He's another player who will continue to grow and get better."
Will Norris, ATH, 6-1, 220, Plano (Prestonwood Christian). All-State TAPPS selection at quarterback as a junior for Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano under coach Mike Hall. Quarterbacked the Lions to the 2005 Division III state. Missed most of his senior year with an injury. Member of the International Thespian Society. Participated in church-sponsored mission trips to Cuba, Honduras and the Czech Republic.
Bailiff: "Will is listed as an athlete, he could also be a tight end and be that guy we put in motion. He's played a lot of different positions."
Cheta Ozougwu, DE, 6-3, 229, Houston (Alief Taylor). All-District 18-5A and All Greater Houston selection for coach Tom Gerber. Member of the Houston Chronicle's Top 100. Finished his senior year with 117 tackles, including 19 for loss (5 sacks) as Taylor reached the state playoffs. Member of the National Honor Society and FCA while also coaching youth at the YMCA.. Plays the piano in his spare time.
Bailiff: "We are fired up about Cheta. He is a young man who is serious about his education and about his football. He had a lot of opportunities, but when we walked in to his house, he said 'I want to go to Rice'. He is something special, he has a lot of personality and a zest for life."
Tyler Parish, OL, 6-4, 290, Ardmore, OK (High). All-State and all-district selection as a senior for coach Mike Lloyd. Named the district 5A-1 Lineman of the Year and selected to play in the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association All Star Game, the Oil Bowl, in July. Ranked as the third best line prospect in Oklahoma by Rivals.com. Parish graded out at 90 percent, and allowed only two players to get past him to record quarterback sacks. Member of the National Honor Society and named a Blue Ribbon Scholar.
Bailiff: "A big road-grader from Oklahoma who has great feet. He played in a good program in Oklahoma. "
Davon Primus, OT, 6-3, 315, Humble (High). First team all-District 21-5A selection for coach Walt Beasley. Throws the shot and discus in track. Earned first team academic all district honors as well. Active in FCA and also volunteered his time to serve as a youth league football coach.
Bailiff: "He's a man-mountain. When you see his shoulders and his build, you know that we are solidifying our offensive line"
Tanner Shuck, LB, 5-11, 225, Jenks, OK (High). Named Oklahoma's 6A Player of the Year by The Tulsa World and a consensus All State selection after leading Jenks to the state championship. Played for coach Allen Trimble. Second on the team with 131 tackles, while leading the team with 24 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Four-year lettermen who also played on Jenks' state title team as a freshman. Named Jenks' Student Athlete of the Year, with a 4.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
Bailiff: "Defensive Player of the Year. He might be just 5-11, but this guy can run and makes play after play after play. He's one of those guys who, when you watch his film, you make noises because he hits people so hard. He has a passion to play football. "
Tyler Smith, ATH, 5-8, 180, Cedar Park (High). Two-time all-District 14-5A selection at running back for coach Chris Ross. Brother of former Owls running back Quinton Smith. Rushed for 1,435 yards and scored 25 touchdowns as a senior for the Timberwolves. Rushed for over 2,500 yards and scored 42 touchdowns in his career. Active in FCA.
Bailiff: "Tyler could play any number of spots for us. He was the fastest player at the Rice camp last summer. We will start him at slot receiver but he could be a cornerback on defense."
Scott Solomon, DE, 6-3, 230, San Antonio (Marshall). Defensive MVP for District 28-5A and an second team all-state selection for coach Mike Carew, after piling up 105 tackles, including 13 for loss and nine sacks. Sparked his team to a 9-3 record and the 28 5A title. Earned all district honors as a junior with 69 tackles and four sacks. Member of the National Honor Society.
Bailiff: "He's a kid who makes player after play when you watch his film."
Brian Stacey, DT, 6-3, 255, Houston (Klein Forest). Second-team 5A all state by 5A Texas Football.com and the District 16-5A Defensive Player of the Year for coach Kenny Hammock. A two-time all-district pick for the Golden Eagles. Had 55 tackles, 9 for loss and 7 sacks as a senior and completed his career with 147 tackles and 16 sacks. Member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. Academic all district selection.
Bailiff: "He was the 16-5A Defensive Player of the Year and it's special to get him to stay in the city and to come to Rice. He is a great fit here."
Cameron Thompson, DT, 6-1, 275, Cedar Hill (High). Second-team all-District 8-5A for the Longhorns who captured the 5A Division II state championship for coach Joey McGuire. Totaled 71 tackles for the Longhorns, including seven sacks. Named to the Dallas Morning News area top 100. Racked up 120 tackles and 10 sacks in his career. A member of FCA who has volunteered time working at a homeless shelter in the Arlington area. Likes to rebuild computers in his spare time.
Bailiff: "Cameron was on a state championship team. You love bringing in kids who have been winners. "
Brandon Tolbert, LB, 6-0, 195, Texarkana (Texas). Two-time all-District 11-4A as a linebacker (2006) and defensive end (2005) for coach Barry Norton. Led the Tigers with 105 tackles, including two sacks, and forced four fumbles as a senior. Earned Defensive MVP honors when Texas High traveled to Cincinnati, OH to defeat Findlay (OH) as part of the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge. Runs the 400 and 800 meters in track.
Bailiff: "He's a sideline to sideline guy and a big hitter. He has a great motor.
Aaron Williams, LB, 6-3, 210, Mesquite (North). Former running back who made the switch to linebacker as a senior for coach Steve Bragg. Earned honorable mention all-District 12-5A after piling up 71 tackles, including four sacks. Honorable-mention academic all state. Lettered twice in basketball and three times in track. Active in bible study.
Bailiff: "He's a big, broad shouldered guy with great high-end speed who will really strike you."
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