The 2021 Rice Football recruiting class has added one more key piece before the early signing period. Defensive end Cal Varner has committed to the Owls.
It’s been a good year on the recruiting front for the Owls. The 2021 Rice Football recruiting class already ranks inside the top five in the conference and it keeps getting better and better. Now the Owls have picked up a commitment from a local pass rusher. Defensive end Cal Varner from Katy High School has committed to Rice.
Under head coach Mike Bloomgren, Rice has stretched its recruiting net from coast to coast. At the same time, they’ve remained committed to home-grown talent. Varner is the third Houston product in the class and the second commitment from Katy, following Cinco Ranh offensive lineman Ethan Onianwa.
In October, Rice became the first FBS school to offer Varner a scholarship. After Rice moved first, SFA, HBU and Army extended Varner offers. Getting out in front, as Rice often tends to do, paid dividends in this race. Varner has become the newest Owl added to the fold with the early signing period days away.
Fellow defensive line commits Jalen Hargrove (6-foot-4, 305 pounds), Elroyal Morris (6-foot-2, 270) and Blake Boenisch (6-foot-3, 300) are going to hold down the interior. Varner (6-foot-4, 225) adds some finesse and quickness off the edge. It’s a great pickup for Rice that rounds out an already hefty haul.
Varner possesses an impressive combination of awareness and focus. He has a knack for knowing where the ball carrier is at all times and directing his path in that direction, regardless of who is attempting to block him. He has the speed and smarts to sniff out screens and finishes his plays. Rice needs playmakers on this side of the ball and Varner has the potential to develop into just that.