Rice football didn’t land anyone on the Preseason Conference USA All-Conference team, but the Owls have plenty of young talent waiting in the wings.
The 2019 Conference USA Preseason Football All-Conference team was announced Monday. 12 of the conference’s 14 teams were represented. The two omissions? Old Dominion and Rice. On the surface, the lack of honorees was disconcerting, but it’s worth taking a breather and assessing where the Rice Football program is right now before getting too worried about preseason lists.
All-Conference teams, particularly those selected by the coaches, rely almost entirely on proven production. The vast majority of the time, that production has been seen first hand in conference games. End of season honorees have the benefit of a full slate of games to prove their abilities. That list could, and should, be more favorable for the Owls.
Rice doesn’t have many players who have been in Conference USA for long enough to warrant consideration. Of the upperclassmen projected to start for Rice this season, three have played enough snaps to earn a preseason look: wide receiver Austin Trammell, wide receiver Aaron Cephus and safety George Nyakwol.
The rest of the upperclassmen starters (find our complete three-deep depth chart projections in our 2019 Rice Football Season Preview) haven’t done enough at Rice to get themselves on the list. Players like Blaze Alldredge, Prudy Calderon, Treshawn Chamberlain and Juma Otoviano have the talent, but none have started a full season of college football yet. Few grad transfer earn recognition in lists like these.
Seniority and preseason lists go hand and hand. Of the 30 players honored, only Charlotte kicker Jonathan Cruz is an underclassman. He made 17 of 22 field goal attempts last season.
Rice has some extremely talented players. They’re just young players. The youth movement in South Main is in its transitional stages. By the time the season is over, those freshmen and sophomores will have plenty of playing time under their belts. Let’s reassess the quality of the depth chart then.
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