The 2023 Rice Football recruiting class picked up a difference-maker on the outside. Corner back AJ Stephens has committed to the Owls.
For the second time in the past month, the 2023 Rice football recruiting class has added a playmaker in the secondary. MacArthur cornerback AJ Stephens has committed to the Owls. Stephens joins fellow Texas High School product Jamarion Clark (South Oak Cliff), who committed to Rice in mid-May as a tandem of cover men for the future.
Stephens, a versatile athlete, was also a star on his basketball team where he excelled on the defensive end of the court along with his shooting prowess. That athleticism and ability to lock down his man translates to the gridiron as well where Stephens says he prides himself on “being able to come down and make tackles and cover the best receiver on the other team.”
Rice was the first program to offer Stephens back in May. Since then, he also picked up an offer from Prairie View A&M before opting to make his pledge to the Owls. Stephens cited the facilities and the staff as driving reasons for his decision. In his eyes, “to also have coaches with NFL experience is amazing because they know how to get me to the next level.”
Stephens elevates the 2023 Rice Football recruiting class up to eight commitments. He and the aforementioned Clark are the only two defensive pledges so far, with the remainder being a quintet of offensive lineman and quarterback Chase Jenkins.
Rice seeks after players with size and physicality for its defensive scheme. They also need corners who are comfortable on an island. Stephens’ film showcases those characteristics extremely well. He’s excellent in coverage and can lean forward and deliver a blow when he picks up a full head of steam. He’ll fit in well at South Main.
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