Rice football inked their first wave of 2019 recruits, filling needs at every position except quarterback. How do those players fit on campus?
Q: Which early signee has the best chance to contribute as a true freshman?
On defense, I’m going with Jake Bailey. This guy could be special. He’s a two-way athlete who started at one of the best high school programs in the country. Frankly, its surprising nobody in the Pac-12 took the trouble to do some digging in their own backyard and offer him a scholarship. The corner position is going to be wide open in 2019 giving Bailey a decent shot to earn a starting role at some point in the season. If he gets it, it’ll be hard seeing anyone taking it away.
Speed being such a big component of this class, I think folks are sleeping on the potential impact of wide receiver Zane Knipe. He’s a quieter guy who hasn’t made a lot of noise on Twitter. His play speaks for itself. He has the potential to be an Austin Trammell-type slot receiver with added turbo. Rice could have used that last year and they’re not going to miss opportunities to get him touches in 2019.
Q: When did the staff find out that Bycznski had flipped to Buffalo? Who are we going after at QB now?
Bycznski played his cards close to the vest the entire process. He called the staff on the first morning of the early signing period to tell them he wasn’t coming to Rice. Although 247 Sports listed him as having a Buffalo offer months earlier, it sounds like it wasn’t a committable offer up until the evening before players could sign. Buffalo lost a quarterback and Bycznski was next in line. The Bulls were always ahead of Rice in the pecking order, a fact Bycznski omitted to share with the Rice staff until the last possible moment.
As for next targets. There are a few names bouncing around and a couple of directions Rice could go. I’ll have more on that soon. There are a few official visit weekends in January where I’d imagine you see at least one if not a few quarterbacks make appearances.