For the fourth time in the past five years, head coach Mike Bloomgren has inked the highest-rated Rice football recruiting class in program history.
The 2024 Rice football recruiting class only contained eight high school signees, but what the Owls gave up in quantity they got tenfold in quality. This small class boasts the highest rating in program history.
“We got stronger today,” head coach Mike Bloomgren said, later adding, “I think our recruiting staff crushed it.”
Internet recruiting rankings have been around since roughly 2003, making the 2024 class the 22nd in the modern rankings era. Bloomgren has now been the head coach at Rice through six of those complete cycles, excluding the 2018 cycle in which he was hired in December. He owns six of the top eight classes in program history.
In addition to Bloomgren’s six complete cycles, spanning the 2019 class to the 2023 class, only the 2010 and the 2013 classes rank in the top eight in school history. At the time, Bloomgren’s 2020 class was the best-ever Rice had signed. He then topped that haul with the best class in program history in 2022, 2023 and now once again in 2024.
Since he arrived, every recruiting class Bloomgren has signed has been a top-five class in program history at the time pen was put to paper. Four of them have been No. 1 overall.
* Blue represents top five classes in program history
On aggregate, Rice is listed as the No. 12 class (out of 13) in the AAC. However, it’s important to remember those rankings are cumulative and they don’t include transfers, like high-profile quarterback addition EJ Warner.
Every player you sign is assigned a point value. If you sign 38 recruits (and counting) like North Texas, you’re going to have more points and rank higher than a school that signs eight. But more doesn’t always mean better.
Additionally, Rice finds itself in an interesting predicament. They haven’t had an exodus of outgoing players. The outgoing senior class that is ineligible to return is small and only one scholarship has been opened through announced departures (Jordan Dunbar). They can’t sign 25 players. There simply aren’t enough scholarships to go around.
“It’s hard to say we’re going to sign a high school kid that’s going to be better than Josh Pearcy if he decides to come back,” Bloomgren half-joked, half-explained just how the Owls have arrived in such an interesting position.
The Owls’ low ranking on aggregate reflects the reality of the Owls’ strong roster, an accumulation of top class in program history, in addition to a remarkable retention rate not seen anywhere else in college football.
“I think it’s going to be hard to evaluate it as we once did when we all signed 20 to 25 kids and [had] somewhat of a level playing field because when you look at ratings, you’re looking at some [of the full picture], We’re not going to win that when signing eight,” Bloomgren said. “If we had 12 people go into the portal like most teams then we’d have a much bigger class and a much higher rank, you would assume. I’m personally glad we don’t.”
Rather than vaulting up the recruiting charts through unprecedented amounts of roster turnover, Rice is building its roster one brick at a time. And just like the recruiting rankings have steadily ticked upward, so have the wins on the field.
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