Following the end of the 2019 season, two Rice football players have entered the Transfer Portal: linebacker Anthony Ekpe and offensive tackle Uzoma Osuji.
Attrition may have found its way to South Main. Rice fared well in the transfer shuffle last year, swapping out two presumed starters (Roe Wilkins and Zach Abercumbia) for a half dozen impact players like Brad Rozner, Naeem Smith and a trio of offensive lineman.
The first Owls to enter the portal this season are linebacker Anthony Ekpe and offensive tackle Uzoma Osuji.
Ekpe led the team with six sacks last season but injuries hindered his impact in 2019. He appeared in eight games, registering 23 tackles and 2.5 sacks. The majority of that production came early in the season — he tallied 17 of his tackles in the Owls’ first two games. Kenneth Orji plated well in his stead, finishing with 40 tackles, fifth most among members of the front seven.
Osuji started the first six games of the 2018 season before injuries and the emergence of Clay Servin pushed him into more of a reserve role. This year Servin was locked in at the left tackle spot. Incoming transfer Justin Gooseberry manned the right side of line. Osuji was the odd man out, seeing action primarily as a backup in nine games.
Both players were wanted and expected to be a part of next year’s team, per a source. Ekpe projected to be heavily involved, if not a starter on the Rice defense. Osuji would have been in the mix for playing time at the right tackle spot, but likely would have had to beat out a new wave of players at his position. They are the only two Rice football players in the portal at this time. The Owls would certainly love to have both back in the fold in 2020.