The 2020 Rice Football recruiting class is full of special talents and game-changing players, two things which could become increasingly more common at South Main.
A lot can change in a year. On the heels of a two-win season, the 2019 Rice Football recruiting class finished No. 11 in Conference USA. There was optimism the Owls were in the midst of righting the ship, but the recruits hadn’t fully bought in, not yet. One year later, Rice is on the verge of history.
“The Flight Class of 2020 is currently on pace to be the highest-rated class in school history,” head coach Mike Bloomgren said as he kicked off a press conference introducing the program’s newest signees. The Owls’ Top 5 class is already the best since 2013. If they can climb into the top three, a manageable task considering the transfer targets still in play, it would be a program first.
Bloomgren didn’t shy away from those external benchmarks on Wednesday. Yes, the numbers are easier to mention when they’re in your favor. But they’re also tangible proof from the outside that others see the transformation currently underway at South Main. “What I think they show is our ability to go recruit against other people that maybe we haven’t been able to recruit against [in the past],” Bloomgren said.
The difference between the No. 11 class and the No. 5 class is seismic.
The 2020 Rice Football class includes two players in Andrew Mason and Sean Fresch with legitimate 4.3 speed. Kobie Campbell isn’t far behind.
A pair of offensive lineman in Trey Phillippi and Mike Leone who Bloomgren described as potential superstars with “uber-high ceilings.”
55-sack man Jalen Reeves, the potential successor to 2018’s leading sack-man, Anthony Ekpe
17 three-star players, 9 of which were identified by the staff prior to receiving a rating
The list goes on and on. “This class is special,” Bloomgren remarked, knowing the truth behind his words could carry a power beyond what it did a year ago when the Owls turned a bottom-5 class into big-play wide receiver Brad Rozner, interception leader Naeem Smith and Pro Football Focus All-Freshman Third Team selection De’Braylon Carroll. The 2019 class wasn’t perfect, but it produced program-altering players who made a difference in year one. 2020 should be even better.
Naturally, Bloomgren was happy with his haul. “I love this team. I love these players,” he said. “And I think that we’ve got a bunch of guys in our program working really well, really hard right now and I think we’re injecting some more talented individuals. And I’m excited about that.”
He should be. The defense got reinforcements. The offense picked up a host of trench warriors and a slew of game-breaking skill position players. The gaps that existed last week were filled, and filled with some of the most talented players Rice has signed in a long time. It’s one recruiting class, but it’s also the indication of a step change at South Main. From this point onward, Rice football will be built differently. Better pieces should lead to better results.Join The Roost. React to stories and news in the forum. Stay plugged into the latest happenings in Rice Football with practice notes recruiting updates and more. We are your No. 1 source for Rice Athletics News.
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