June 20, 2013
Athlon Sports released its preseason all-Conference USA first and second teams on Thursday, including five Rice University football honorees. Defensive end Cody Bauer and cornerback Phillip Gaines each garnered first team mentions.
Center Nate Richards, linebacker Cameron Nwosu, defensive lineman Hosam Shahin and place kicker Chris Boswell earned second team nods. The Owls' six honorees are the fourth-most among the 14 league members on the list.
Bauer started all 13 games and reached career highs across the board, finishing with 51 tackles, (36 unassisted), 15 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two fumbles, two fumbles forced, one pass breakup and one interception. He earned postseason honorable mention all-conference accolades from the league's coaches in 2012.
Gaines ranked second nationally and first in C-USA last year with 18 pass breakups en route to earning all-conference honors.
Each of the second-teamers is coming off a strong 2012 season and heading into his senior campaign. Richards anchored a young offensive line a year ago and started all 13 games for the Owls, and is the team's lone offensive player to be honored by Athlon prior to the 2013 campaign.
Defensively, Nwosu finished 2012 ranked second on the squad with 92 tackles in 2012, and has 210 in his career. He heads into his senior year needing 76 stops to crack the Rice career top 10 after notched 10 tackles in the Armed Forces Bowl win in December. Shahin finished last season with a career-best 45 tackles and led C-USA interior linemen with 5.0 sacks. His sack total ranked fifth in the nation among interior defenders.
Boswell had yet another superb season in 2012 as he was a Groza Award semifinalist for a second season. He led the nation in long distance field goals while re-writing the Rice kicking record book. Boswell set school season records for field goals (23) and kick scoring (114) in addition to career records for field goals (51) and field goal attempts (67) and kick scoring (270).
Marshall placed six players on the first team and led the league with eight total honorees, while East Carolina and Tulsa each had seven honorees.