Pass rushers were a point of emphasis for the 2019 Rice football recruiting class. The Owls went out of state to sign linebacker Adrian Bickham.
Entering the first morning of the early signing period, Rice had 14 players publicly committed. Landing those commits would have made for a good start for the first full recruiting cycle for Mike Bloomgren and his staff, but the Owls had a few more names tucked up their sleeves.
As the morning progressed, new faces were announced. In addition to some veteran plays from the Junior College and Grad transfer ranks, Rice snagged an important commitment from Louisiana edge rusher Adrian Bickham.
Bickham was on campus in mid December and was impressed, so were the Owls. Rice made a push to get his commitment and made it happen, beating out offers from McNeese State, Nicholls State, Southeastern and Northwestern State.
Coach Mike Bloomgren praised his aggression at “relentless pursuit” as he talked through the 2019 signing class on Wednesday afternoon, noting his ability to get after the quarterback, an area Rice could use help with going forward. The Owls finished last in Conference USA in sacks last season, registering 17 over a 13 game span.
Bickham, plus the additions of pass rusher Josh Pearcy, should go a long way to fortifying a unit that remains relatively young. Standing 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Bickham is going to need to add some strength before he becomes a regular contributor on the field. Once he does, though, his impact on the outside has extremely high potential.