Early in 2008 it looked as if this year's football signing class would be a small one for Rice.
With injuries, early graduations, the NFL, and job offers that number has grown to a possible number of 22.
Rice hosted its final large group of visitors for the 2009 recruiting campaign this weekend in an attempt to finish out an already stellar class strongly.
Here's a rundown of this weekends recruits...
First the "committed" visitors...
Cody Bauer, DE Pottsboro - coming off minor knee surgery the 6-4 Bauer is recovering nicely and will be fully recovered before he reports to Rice. In fact,he should be running again in February.
Trey Briggs, LB Jersey Village - had originally planned on visiting in December but rescheduled for January due to a minor injury. The 1st Team All-District Linebacker needs to be ready to play the day he steps on campus - the LB position for 2009 is a thin one for Coach Chuck Driesbach's Defense.
Alex Lowry, DL Caddo Mills - recently named All-State in addition to being named his district's Defensive MVP. Lowry is possibly the strongest player in the state (800 lb. squat) and also should see early playing time in 2009.
Turner Petersen, Athlete Oklahoma City Heritage Hall - Petersen was named the Oklahoma City "Little City" Offensive Player-of-the-Year in Oklahoma playing Quarterback and leading his team to a 2A State Championship. Just committed to Rice a week ago. He could play a variety of positions, sparking a healthy debate among appreciative Owl fans.
Paul Porras, DB Scottsdale Saguaro - Porras was also name Player-of-the-Year in his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. Porras brings a multi- faceted skill set and a history of winning to the Owl team. Could also play early at Rice.
Now the uncommitted players...
Tolu Akinwumi, Athlete Brampton, Ontario Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School - a very talented player with excellent ball skills and speed. Played both ways at ND but will likely play Defense in college. The Owls have a good shot at Akinwumi. Has a Rice offer.
Chris Boswell, K Keller Fossil Ridge - the Owls need to sign a Kicker in the 2009 class and Boswell is probably the best one available in Texas. 1st Team 5A All-State and a participant in the recent U.S. Army All-American game. Rice has offered along with North Texas, but Chris is talking to Big 12 schools also. May not decide until later in the month.
Donte Foster, WR Guthrie, OK - Foster has won 4 State Championships - in Football, Basketball, and twice in Track competing in the High Jump. He is a very good basketball player and that sports weighs prominently in his college decision. Had a great year as a Receiver this year accumulating almost 1,000 yards catching the ball. Has offers from Rice, New Mexico, and Ohio in football; Colorado in basketball. Has said recently an offer from Oklahoma State would be too good to pass up.
Andre Gautreaux, WR Friendswood - the other half of a dynamic pass-catch combo that included Texas Tech QB commit Jacob Karam. Gautreaux runs good routes and has functional football speed. Rice hasn't offered yet but will need to soon - Andre holds offers from Wyoming, Navy, and Air Force.
Cody Matthews, WR Smithson Valley - Matthews is just the type of big target the Owls are looking for at a height of 6-4. Needs a few pounds as he is only around 175 right now. Has good measurables and was quite productive for Smithson Valley including a big playoff performance at Rice Stadium against eventual State Champions, Katy.
Hosam Shahin, DT Richmond British Columbia - Shahin will be making the longest trip of any visitors this weekend but is quite important to the Owls recruiting needs for 2009. He's around 6-4 265 and has good measurables for a "3 technique" player. Has already been offered a scholarship by Rice.
The Owls also have a "mystery" visitor on campus this weekend. No details yet on who the mystery man may be but we'll try to find out of course.
We'll have an update on Sunday if anything happens over the weekend...