Owls Recruiting Winners

The Rice Owls tapped into one of the winningest programs in the Lone Star State last year for WR Michael Fuda from Katy HS. They have another Tiger commit this year in OL Eric Ball. Here's what he had to say about recruiting and his future at Rice...

OwlDigest.com recently caught up with Katy Offensive Lineman Eric Ball to discuss where he stands on his commitment to Rice.

Ball who is 6'3, and weighs in at 275 lbs. had a lot to say, when asked how his season was going thus far.

"This season has been pretty good so far, we have been fighting some injury issues lately on the O-Line, so I have been moving around to help cover. I have played at Center and at both Tackle spots so far. I will be playing Tackle this week as well." That added versatility only increases his stock as one of the top offensive linemen in the Greater Houston area.

When asked his status on his Rice commitment he had this to say:

"I am still solid. I am not even talking to anyone else. I talk with the recruiting coach over there once a week."

Ball says he does what he can to keep up with Rice's year, but admits he stays pretty busy with the Tigers season.

"I have not had a chance to watch them yet this year, but I follow how they are doing. I know they beat Southern Miss., and almost beat Houston. I text Michael (Fuda, former Katy teammate) and talk to him some online too.

I also asked his thoughts on joining the Rice program, and making a difference."Coach Joseph told me I am leaving this place that is used to winning and expected to win every game, and that I should take that mindset with me to the next level."

The Tigers know a little about winning, they are a perennial playoff team with 2 State Championships to their credit since 2000. This year they are right at the top again - they are currently the #1 ranked 5A team in Texas and the #4 ranked high school team nationally according to USA Today. The Tigers are 8-0 this season and have yet to be really challenged in a game. They've amassed 3034 yards of offense on the season and Ball and his OL peers are paving the way for most of that on the ground - the Tigers have 1854 rushing yards.

One of the different strategies taken by the new Rice staff and Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line coach D.J. Elliott is that they are paying close attention to local talent - something previous staffs inexplicably didn't seem to do. The Katy program has 4 known Division I commitments - RB Aundre Dean, UCLA; S Trent Hunter, Kansas State; K Ryan Doerr, South Carolina; and of course Ball is committed to Rice. The Tiger program has other prospects being recruited, among them is LB Blaine Adkins who is also considering Rice. There are several juniors this year that have college potential as well. Owl coach Craig Naivar recruited Ball. Coach Naivar has garnered several of the pledges in the current 2008 class. The commits are non-binding until signing day.

Rice will likely take around 15 players in the 2008 class.

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