The summer is over and the 2020 Rice football season is, allegedly, approaching. Here’s a quick rundown of the preseason roster and a few interesting tidbits and notes.
Rice football released its preseason roster this week, featuring 109 players. If you haven’t grabbed a copy of the 2020 Rice Football Season Preview, be sure you do soon. It has position by position and player by player breakdowns. Check out a sample here.
The team had the option to begin fall camp on Wednesday. Rice has not yet indicated when it will begin. The team is currently holding walkthroughs. The majority of schools who kick off their season on Saturday of Week 1 can open camp on Friday.
As for the roster itself, here were a few observations worth mentioning.
No startling omissions
First, as most significant, all of the Owls’ key pieces are returning. It’s not uncommon for players to move on from teams for various reasons. It happens everywhere. Rice wasn’t hit hard by outgoing transfers this summer, nor were any key players dismissed. There were 110 players on the roster this spring compared to 109 currently. The lone subtraction was former backup quarterback Parker Towns, who did not appear in any games for the Owls last year and had been moved to wide receiver this spring.
There’s a stark contrast between the Owls’ situation and that of other C-USA teams like Marshall and FAU, both of which unexpectedly lost established starting quarterbacks in the past month.
Rice has size in the offensive trenches
Rice had one player on the offensive line that weighed at least 295 entering the 2019 season, grad transfer Nick Leverett. He’s in camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers right now.
The 2020 offensive line is significantly bigger. Seven offensive lineman enter camp at or above that 295 pound mark. That includes projected starting center Isaac Klarkowski (299), starting guards Shea Baker (302) and Cole Garcia (296) as well as probably starting tackle Jovaun Woolford. The final likely starter on the line, left tackle Clay Servin, checks in at 292.
The Rice starting o-line will come close to 1,500 combined pounds this season. Some of those, like Woolford, have put on a good portion of that weight during the extended offseason. They’re going to push some folks around.
Still room for non-roster additions
The Owls have been adding to their roster all summer. From former Richmond tight end Andrew Tsangeos to former Princeton long snapper Chris Sayan, Rice is still in the market for the right depth pieces. We might not see any massive last-second additions, but there could be a few more pieces.
One such newcomer is CJ McCord, the brother of current Rice corner Miles McCord. He was included on a graphic tweeted out by a few of the Rice wideouts. Standing 6-foot-1, CJ is transferring from Yale and will bring depth the receiving corps. He caught three passes at Yale.
Senior-led, but not senior heavy
There are 13 players on the 109 man roster listed as redshirt seniors, seniors or grad transfers. That includes Collin Riccitelli whom the staff expects to regain an additional year of eligibility. Here are the other 12:
- Blaze Alldredge, LB
- Elijah Garcia, DL
- Jordan Myers, TE
- George Nyakwol, Saf
- Naeem Smith, Saf
- Austin Trammell, WR
Possible starter / key contributor
- Mike Collins, QB
- Jovaun Woolford, OL
- Garrett Grammer, LB
- JaVante Hubbard, DL
Bench / backup
- Andrew Tsangeos, TE
- Collin Whitaker, CB
As you can see, the most experienced players Rice has are going to be playing a lot of snaps for the team this year. But the next level is just as promising. Although I wouldn’t call this a “young” team, there’s plenty of underclassmen and juniors on the roster this year who will see meaningful reps as the team prepares for a more typical season in 2021.
Between walk ons and scholarship players, Rice is adding 27 freshmen to the roster for the fall. Bringing in such large classes is what’s enabled Mike Bloomgren and his staff to build the roster back to the appropriate amount of depth. He won’t be having to cancel spring practices because he ran out of players like he had to do on occasion during his first year on campus.
- Rice Football 2020: Owls in the NFL Week 3 Update
- Rice Football 2020: First week of fall camp practice notes
- Conference USA Football 2020: Week 4 C-USA Roundup
- College Football and COVID-19: Mid September Roundup