22 freshman joined the Rice football team as members of the 2018 recruiting class with several others walking on. The new staff is thrilled by their early results.
Mike Bloomgren was introduced as the new head football coach at Rice University on Dec. 6, 2017. Two weeks later the Owls went through the inaugural early signing period, which was admittedly challenging for the Owls’ new staff.
Rice earned five signatures on the short turnaround and added another 17 members before all was said and done, giving them 22 members in the 2018 class. Others would join the Owls during the summer, bringing the final tally closer to 30 first-year players this season.
A little more than five months after National Signing Day in February, the entirety of that class has finally arrived on campus and is participating in regular practice with the rest of the team. Bloomgren and his staff could not be more complimentary of the fresh faces on campus, glowing about their on-field performances during practices and in the weight room this summer.
There have been moments of frustration, but by and large, the staff is impressed with the performance of the “young bucks” early on. Special teams coach Josh Lembo acknowledged several hard workers that had impressed early: Jacob Doddridge, Prudy Calderon, Juma Ocotviano and Miles Adams, among others. On the whole, there doesn’t seem to be a wink link, at least not yet.
Judging from what Bloomgren has already said about the fluidity of the depth chart and the progress being shown by the 2018 class there could be a few newcomers that crack their way into the starting lineups early on in the season. The effort of the young guns is unmistakable and it’s already feeding through to the rest of the team. So far, the freshmen are putting in the work it takes to be successful. Those dividends will pay off in the fall.