The Transfer Portal has made itself a part of the 2020 Rice football offseason. Who’s on their way out and who could be on their way to Houston?
Suspensions and outgoing players
Aaron Cephus was suspended for the entirety of the 2019 season. After the season, multiple sources told me he was a longshot to return to the program. He has since put his name into the Transfer Portal alongside corner D’Angelo Ellis, who had also been suspended. Ellis was suspended after appearing in two games this season. In four years at Rice, he never appeared in more than seven games, battling through injuries and more recent off the field issues. He was not expected to be a significant contributor in 2020.
The newest entrant, kicker Zach Hoban, handled kickoffs for the Owls last season. He did not attempt any kicks.
It’s possible we could see another name or two added to the list of outgoing players, but the players most likely to be added to that list did not see much, if any playing time in 2019. Rush end Anthony Ekpe and offensive lineman Uzoma Osuji, both of which put their name in the portal earlier this winter, are likely the biggest hits Rice will see via transfers to their depth this offseason. Any other potential departures aren’t expected to be significant.
Rice football players currently in the Transfer Portal
- WR Aaron Cephus
- LB Anthony Ekpe
- DB D’Angelo Ellis
- PK Zach Hoban
- OL Uzoma Osuji
Potential Transfer Targets
The transfer market is going to heat up for Rice over the next several weeks. The Owls have been in contact with a host of potential instant-impact players, including several who started at the Power 5 level. There’s a decent chance that could include some from the exodus of Stanford players. More than a dozen from Mike Bloomgren’s former school are currently in the Transfer Portal.
Look for potential reinforcements at running back, offensive line, defensive line and place kicker. Rice is losing starters in all of those spots. The Owls would also be interested in another outside wide receiver with height to pair opposite Brad Rozner, especially given the status of Aaron Cephus. That would depend on how many 6-foot-5, D1-caliber receivers are available — there won’t be many.
It’s worth noting the timetable for any potential new arrivals. National Signing Day is Wednesday, Feb. 5 but by no means is that the deadline to have the entire class complete. The portal has extended the recruiting cycle into the spring and early summer. Rice needs their class finalized by the time summer workouts begin in June. The Owls won’t delay getting potential transfers in, but they won’t force-fit anyone to reach a “complete” class by signing day.