The 2023 Rice Football recruiting class continues to add reinforcements from the Transfer Portal, this time with a commitment from former UCLA WR Matt Sykes.
On the eve of National Signing Day, the 2023 Rice Football recruiting class continues to add talent. After taking a few high school receivers in December the Owls have added their first transfer at the position, picking up a commitment from former UCLA wide receiver Matt Sykes.
Sykes is a former 4-star recruit in the 2020 class, picking UCLA over Cal and BYU at the time. Current Rice offensive coordinator Marques Tuiasosopo was at Cal at the time and was recruiting Sykes to join the Bruins. A few years later, both have circled back together, but this time in Houston.
Rice has had tremendous success at the wide receiver position from transfer players in recent years. The Owls leading trio of pass catchers last season — Bradley Rozner, Luke McCaffrey and Isaiah Esdale — all transferred to Rice from elsewhere. Sykes could potentially fill in for the departing Esdale and enable the offense to keep rolling without skipping a beat.
“I pride myself on being versatile when it comes to running routes, and being strong through the catch,” Sykes told The Roost. “I think I can add more length, speed, and experience to the offense.”
Sykes also contributes to a growing contingent of players with Hawaiin ties on the roster. Kicker Tim Horn, punter Connor Hunt and running back Dean Connors all played high school football on the islands, as did Sykes.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds on the UCLA roster, Sykes is long and quick. With only 10 collegiate receptions to his name, there’s not a ton of film to pull from during his time with the Bruins, but he appeared in 30 games over three seasons and did grab this touchdown last season.
His first reception of the season is his first career touchdown, for a career-long 24 yards!
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 24, 2022
His high school highlights showcase a player with speed and size, and he’s had three seasons within the UCLA program to grow since then. Rice has had tremendous success with underutilized, talented players who have transferred from Power 5 programs to South Main. Perhaps Sykes could be next on that list.
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