Rice football added five scholarship players to their ranks on National Signing Day, rounding out the 2019 class with 31 signees. Here’s more on the new Owls.
It was a productive National Signing Day for Rice football. The Owls added five players to their 17 early signing period signees and nine walk ons, bringing their total to 31 members in this class. Rice has room for four more players which could include a few more graduate transfers by the time this team takes the field in the fall.
The new additions filled three major areas of need:
Jovoni Johnson, QB – Conway, AR
Tom Stewart, QB – Harvard (Grad Transfer)
Rice needed to shore up the quarterback room after missing on a signal caller during the early signing period. They added two players, each fulfilling a different purpose. Tom Stewart is the veteran hand who has played D1 football. He’ll have a shot at the starting job, but most importantly, he’ll serve as an insurance policy for Wiley Green and Evan Marshman — both quarterbacks were injured during the 2019 season.
Johnson is a different case. The big-bodied dual threat passer is built from a different mold than any other quarterback on the roster. While it’s unlikely he challenges for a starting role in 2019, he’s a developmental prospect for the future with sky-high potential.
2. Defensive front seven
Myron Morrison, LB – Atascocita, TX
De’Braylon Carroll, DT – Duncanville, TX
Adding a few more hard hitters in the defensive front seven was another goal for National Signing Day. The departures of Zach Abercrumbia and Roe Wilkins left depth concerns which needed to be filled up front. De’Braylon Carroll will slide into the mix and compete for playing time this fall. Behind him the Owls added Myron Morrison a hard-hitting linebacker from just outside Houston.
If Carroll was 6-foot-1 (he’s 5-foot-11) the Owls wouldn’t have been able to sign him. The knock on him is his height, which he more than makes up for with a quick first step and explosive instincts. He’s going to be scary teamed up with Izeya Floyd in the middle of the defensive line.
3. Instant impact transfers
Brian Chaffin, OL – Stanford (Grad Transfer)
The offensive line was a work in progress last season and only truly started to gel in the final weeks of 2018. If the offense wants to take a step forward, they need better protection in the passing game and better blocking for their backs. Rice is addressing that problem by signing two graduate transfers on the offensive line in the 2019 class.
Chaffin’s addition is more than just filling a hole, though. Bloomgren recruited him to Stanford and remains close with him and his family. “I know he knows what it takes and what I believe in,” Bloomgren remarked. “I know he wants to help me advance that culture. His one year will be felt beyond.”
While the younger guys continue to develop and get stronger, this battle-tested pair (including early signee Nick Leverett) have the ability to catapult this entire unit forward significantly. All of a sudden a unit which had several question marks with the departures of Joseph Dill and Sam Pierce could become one the team’s biggest strengths.