We saw flashes this season, but we’ve only scratched the surface of what 2019 Rice Football Rising Star De’Braylon Carroll will do at South Main.
Defensive coordinators around the country have already started kicking themselves for letting De’Braylon Carroll slip past them. During his senior season at Duncanville, Carroll anchored a Duncanville defense that allowed 4.6 points per game. That production didn’t slow down at Rice, making him an easy pick for The Roost’s 2019 Rice Football Rising Star.
A unanimous Defensive MVP in District 8-6A during his senior season, Carroll wasn’t recruited as heavily as some of his teammates. There were concerns that his height (listed on the Rice football roster at 6-foot) would limit him at the next level. Starters from that defense earned D1 scholarships around the country. Carroll quietly watched the early signing period come and go, waiting until January to make his pledge. His choices? Air Force, Alabama A&M, Georgetown, Harding, Navy and Rice.
The short list didn’t deter Carroll. He climbed from the scout team to the second team almost immediately upon his arrival on campus. By the end of fall camp, the true freshman was frequently taking reps with the first team defense. He was a fixture in the defensive line rotation from that point on,
Carroll picked up his first career sack against Louisiana Tech, brining down J’Mar Smith for a loss of 14 yards. He finished the year with 14 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss. His season-best four-tackle game came in his collegiate debut on the road against Army. While playing limited snaps behind defensive team captain Myles Adams, Carroll was selected to the Pro Football Focus All-Freshman team this season.
Time and time again he showed he could produce when given the opportunity. His quickness and power at the point of attack became a problem for Conference USA offensive lines. The Owls didn’t get many sacks this season, but the disruption players like Carroll and Adams were able to cause on the interior made a difference. Some of the conference’s best quarterbacks — Jack Abraham at Southern Miss and Mason Fine at North Texas — struggled to find any semblance of rhythm.
Waves of freshmen saw the field for Rice football in 2018. That changed this season, as the young core of Owls had an additional year of experience under their belt. Only three true freshmen played in every game in 2019: linebacker Adrian Bickham, tight end Jack Bradley and Carroll. That short list confirms what those who watched Carroll play this season already know, you can’t keep a player that talented off the field.
Carroll’s impact went beyond the boxscore. Those relying on the stat sheet to project how impactful the Rice front seven will be next season are in for a surprise.
Carroll will be ready and waiting for his turn. Adams has exhausted his eligibility and moved on. Rice has yet to sign any interior defensive lineman in their most recent recruiting class. The starting job is going to be Carroll’s. If he continues to play at this level he won’t fly under the radar for much longer.
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