The 2021 Rice Football recruiting class is stocked with talent, giving the Owls the luxury to fill some “wants” instead of scrambling for “needs”.
When Mike Bloomgren took the job, he had less than a week to get as many to assemble his first pass at a recruiting class. As a result, Rice ended its first Early Signing Period with six players in the 2018 Rice Football recruiting class. That class would fill out by the time National Signing Day arrived in February, but the chief priority in those classes was bodies first, flash second.
Rice found several impact players in that first class. Treshawn Chamberlain, Clay Servin, Antonio Montero … the list of multi-year starters goes on and on. Many of those guys are still here, still contributing vital roles to this team. Because of the strong foundations they started, the Owls were able to address other needs in their 2019 and 2020 classes.
Finally, with a fresh season ahead and pandemic (hopefully soon) behind them, Rice was able to do something with its 2021 class they hadn’t had the luxury to do in some time. Move past “needs”, to “wants”.
Rice signed five players that weigh 300 or more pounds on Wednesday. They have five players that large on their roster right now. Bloomgren referred to those new additions as “great pieces of clay” that he and his staff were willing to take the time to mold. This class wasn’t about filling urgent needs right now. It was truly focused on what Rice will look like on the field in 2022 and beyond.
“There’s no guarantees in this business that just because somebody’s strong they’re going to be better. But if everything is constant and I lift 100 pounds or 200 pounds more than you, and I have 20 pounds of good weight better than you, I should win. It’s just that simple,” Bloomgren said.
He’s not wrong.
In what will forever go down as the most pivotal game of Bloomgren’s tenure to date, Rice inserted 314-pound Izeya Floyd into the starting offensive line. The converted defender helped turn a line that caved inward the game prior into a unit that produced more than 100 rushing yards against a Marshall defense that hadn’t allowed an opponent to surpass the century mark on the ground all season.
One big body doesn’t win a football game on his own. But the more chances you can take to unearth that next key cog, the better. The 2021 Rice Football recruiting class has the kind of top end talent that could play a massive role for this team quickly. The additions at linebacker are impressive. The wide receivers are going to be difference makers here.
But having the luxury to do both, to meet your current needs and expand your horizons to “wants” and “hopes”, that’s the mark of a program that’s established the baseline of talent it needs to compete. The Owls want these next pieces can raise the floor, and with it, the ceiling, too