The 2022 Rice Football recruiting class isn’t done yet. Days after National Signing Day, the Owls have picked up a commitment from kicker Conor Hunt.
Head coach Mike Bloomgren made a point to note the 2022 Rice Football recruiting class was not complete when he stood in front of the microphone on National Signing Day to discuss the Owls’ newest crop of signees. It only took a few days from that address for Rice to add another important piece to the fold, picking up a commitment from Georgetown transfer kicker/punter Conor Hunt.
Special teams were a disaster for Rice football last season. The return game had its bright spots, but the Owls connected on 5-of-11 field goal attempts, demoting starting kicker Collin Riccitelli midway through the season in favor of Elon transfer Christian VanSickle who hadn’t attempted a field goal in a collegiate game prior to lining up for a 41-yard attempt against Southern Miss.
Riccitelli is no longer on the roster. VanSickle is. But the Owls made it clear by their willingness to go for it on fourth down rather than settle for even a moderately long field goal they needed help at the position
Hunt will join Washington transfer Tim Horn and walk-on Enoch Gota in a three-way battle for the starting kicker job. His experience as a punter will also push Charlie Mendes, who regressed in both average distance and net distance last season.
Hunt made 7-of-12 field goal attempts for the Hoyas last season, hitting from a long of 45-yards with one kick blocked. He punted 48 times, averaging 41.7 yards per punt with nine punts of 50 yards or longer. His versatility has the potential to be invaluable to the Owls who need to shore up the kicking game headed into the 2022 season.