May 9, 2014
Phillip Gaines, whose suffocating pass coverage at cornerback was a key component in Rice's rise to Conference USA Champions, was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 87th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft in New York City on Friday night.
Gaines is the first player from Rice to be selected by the Chiefs since defensive tackle Cornelius Walker was drafted with the 59th overall selection (third round) in 1974. He is the first corner from Rice to be selected in the NFL Draft since 1972 when Mike Tyler was taken in the 17th round by the Detroit Lions.
Tyler, who was the first African-American to sign with Rice and was honored last year with his two classmates (Rodrigo Barnes and Stahle Vincent) who became the first African-Americans to play at Rice, passed away in late March.
An immediate starter as a true freshman in 2009, Gaines went on to become a two-time, All C-USA selection as well as a team captain as both a junior and senior. He was the first Owl to earn All C-USA in consecutive years since Jarett Dillard was a three-time selection from 2006-08.
Gaines set a school career record by breaking up 38 passes while playing in 52 career games, starting 35 of the last 36. As a senior, he set career highs with four interceptions and four tackles for loss and was only targeted 40 times in the regular season, allowed just 13 receptions while defending 13 others (4 interceptions, 9 PBUs). He was the preseason choice of C-USA Coaches as the Defensive Player of the Year.
After seeing only seven players drafted in a 19-year stretch from 1989-2008, Rice has now see seven players selected in the last six years, with four round remaining in the 2014 Draft. Gaines the fifth draftee from David Bailiff's first three recruiting classes at Rice.