Rice football is daring to be different, employing a fullback in their offense as many of their peers have long since done away with the position.
In modern college football, you’re more likely to see five wide receivers on the field than you are to see a fullback. Even the most spread open offenses rarely leave the quarterback alone in the backfield with the exception of a late-game hail mary or a particularly intriguing matchup against an opposing linebacker or defensive back.
At Rice, the fullback is more than just a novelty, it’s a core building block of the Owls’ offense. The fullback is responsible for knowing not just his blocking assignment, but how everyone in front of him is supposed to execute before he reaches the line of scrimmage. It’s a complicated task, one that few are groomed for in today’s game.
Those intricacies, combined with the Rice offense, making finding fullbacks a challenging task. Last season Rice went to the transfer wire, scooping up Giovanni Gentosi from UCLA. This season the new addition comes by way of Stanford, Bloomgren’s old stomping grounds. Reagan Williams traded Palo Alto for South Main for his final season of college ball.
The other players at the position, Brendan Suckley and Luke Armstrong, are learning the position for the first time. Suckley is a converted tight end. Armstrong is a converted offensive lineman. (Read more about each of the fullbacks will impact the offense this fall in our 2019 Rice Football Season Preview.)
Rice will be one of the few programs to recruit a fullback in 2020. The Owls currently have a commitment from Baton Rouge native Brian Hibbard. He should be the first of several fullbacks who make their way to Rice in the coming years. Rice is in the fullback business. And they’re just getting started.