Dec. 14, 2011
Rice cornerback Bryce Callahan, who led all FBS freshmen with six interceptions and was second with 15 passes defended, has been named to Phil Steele's 2011 All-Freshman second team as part of his annual list of honors teams which were released on Wednesday.
He also joined Kyle Martens, Luke Willson, Scott Solomon, Chris Boswell, Cameron Nwosu and Jake Hicks in earning a place on Steele's All C-USA squad. Marten's was named to the first team, while Solomon, Willson and Boswell were named to the second team and Hicks and Nwosu joined Callahan on Steele's All C-USA third team.
Callahan stepped into a starting role after Phillip Gaines was lost for the season at Southern Miss. In Gaines' place against USM, Callahan picked off a pair of passes, setting the stage for an impressive run over the season's final nine games. He picked off passes in three of his last four games, including a pair vs. UTEP. Of the six passes thrown his way in the final three games of the season, he turned four into changes of possession (three interceptions, one completion on a failed fourth-down conversion.
Martens completed his career as the Rice career record holder with a 43.1 average on 230 career punts. He bettered his 2010 All America year statistics, reaching career highs for punts over 50 yards (15) and punts inside the 20 (24), with 13 of those 24 punts being downed inside the 10. He also forced 25 fair catches and had only seven touchbacks in 78 punts. Martens also averaged 46 yards on 18 punts from inside the Owls 25.
Solomon bounced back from a broken foot that held him out of all of the 2010 season to post career highs in sacks (8.5) and tackles for loss (13.5) while tying the school career record with 24 sacks. He had at least one TFL in eight of his last nine games and closed the season ranked among the top five active players in sacks, solo sacks, tackles for loss and solo tackles for loss. He was one of 19 defensive ends who were named to the final Ted Hendricks Award Watch List.
Boswell continued to excel as a placekicker while also taking on kickoff chores as a sophomore. He tied the school record with 17 field goals and closed the regular season as one of six kickers in the country to have booted three field goals of 50-yards or longer. He ranked 22nd nationally and second in C-USA with 1.41 field goals per game. He converted on 17 of 21 field goal attempts, including 8-11 from 40 yards or more. He recorded 14 touchbacks on kickoffs, one more than the Owls total from the previous three years combined, and five better than the best season among the 11 years in which kickoff stats were compiled. His kickoff average of 63.1 yards per kickoff were a school record and marked the first time a Rice kicker has averaged over 60 yards for the season.
Willson was a Mackey Award Semifinalist and mid-season, All C-USA selection. He was second on the team with 311 receiving yards and third with 29 catches despite missing time at the end of the year with an injury. His top game was a seven-catch, 104 yard effort vs. Tulsa.
Nwosu led the Owls with 108 tackles, becoming the first Owl linebacker to top 100 tackles since Brian Raines had 118 in 2006. He accounted for two of the Owls' five defensive touchdowns, returning fumbles for scores vs. Houston and SMU. He also was credited with the tackle on two of the Owls' nine fourth-down stops on the year.
Hicks battled a nagging calf injury all season, but answered the call for all 12 games at left tackle. He completed his career with 41 career starts along the offensive line.