The Roost’s 2022 Rice Football Season Superlatives exist to honor exceptional Owls who made a difference on the field this season. Here’s the complete list.
There were many individual performances worth recognizing in the 2022 Rice Football season. In addition to the more traditional awards below, make sure to check out The Roosties, our fourth annual award show from The Roost Podcast, which features a different angle of honors. From our favorite plays to the players that surprised us the most, we cover some of the more creative superlatives on the show.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year — WR Isaiah Esdale | Full Story
Excerpt: “Esdale would go on to catch 42 passes as a Rice Owl. 25 of them went for a first down. 13 of them were for 15+ yards or longer. He was a chain mover and a big-play maker, coming through in clutch moments time and time again. While Bradley Rozner and Luke McCaffrey were the wideouts that most often found paydirt and racked up the yards, Esdale’s contribution was clutchness.”
Defensive Newcomer of the Year — LB Chris Conti | Full Story
Excerpt: “After a parade of reliable all-conference caliber linebackers that have passed through the Rice football locker room in recent years, finding someone who could fill those shoes was a daunting task. The Owls found at least one such man in Conti. And fortunately enough, he still has two more seasons of eligibility to make a difference at South Main.”
Sp. Teams Players of the Year — PK Christian VanSickle | Full Story
Excerpt: “In that span, he made six kicks from beyond 30 yards. Rice had one such make all of last season. He had four go through the pipes from 40+ yards away. And this after attempting his first collegiate field goal last season. For someone brand new to the position to give his team the utmost level of reliability was truly remarkable.”
Rising Star — DL Blake Boenisch | Full Story
Excerpt: “The kid is a freak of nature,” fellow teammate and captain Trey Schuman said of Boenisch. “He’s 6-3, 330 and can move. It’s not every day that you see somebody like him. Really the thing about Blake is his maturation process has been insane.”
Iron Man — OL Shea Baker | Full Story
Excerpt: “When Baker donned his helmet for the final time against Southern Miss in the Lending Tree Bowl he put an exclamation point on a Rice football record that won’t soon be broken, if ever. Baker leaves Rice as the all-time leader in career starts, making 53 starts over his six-year career.”
Off. Player of the Year — WR Luke McCaffrey | Full Story
Excerpt: “The emergence of McCaffrey coincided with an offensive awakening that never seemed to be fully realized. Rice football is better with McCaffrey on the field and the Owls are fortunate he’s got more eligibility to spend catching football at South Main.”
Def. Player of the Year — LB Josh Pearcy | Full Story
Excerpt: “Pearcy would go on to make more plays, including tying a season-high seven tackles with one sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss in the Owls’ Lending Tree Bowl matchup with Southern Miss. All three of those measures tied or lead the team outright. In another big moment, Pearcy showed up. Because that’s what great players do.”
Team MVP — WR Bradley Rozner | Full Story
Excerpt: “Making it back to the field in any capacity and contributing to the offense would have been a relief for Rozner who hadn’t seen the field in such a long time. Becoming a go-to game-breaker was even more impressive. In many ways, it’s just like that game-winning score against UTEP. Someone gave Rozner a chance. He did the rest.”
Check out the 2021 Rice Football Season Superlatives here.
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