Owls Take Off to Great White North for OT

Rice OL Coach Blake Miller found a real gem when he discovered Scott Mitchell at a football camp in Canada last year. He made note of another lineman he saw that week - and last week he also became a Rice Owl...

The Rice Owls found the offensive tackle they were looking for in the 2008 Class when Stefan Nazar, a 6-5 290 pound lineman from Toronto Michael Power - St. Joseph Prep School joined the team last week. Nazar is the second Canadian to join the team recently, joining freshman offensive tackle Scott Mitchell on the Rice Football Team. Nazar is going through off season workouts and will be able to participate in spring drills. He counts against this year's class and makes the 3rd offensive linemen in this year's recruiting haul.

Nazar brings a defensive lineman's mentality and aggression to the field, having played defensive line almost exclusively prior to this season at Power. He was voted the team's most valuable defensive player last year but was asked to move this year in order to shore up the offensive line. Nazar took the move in stride. "This is a team game. They come first and my job is to help them," said the 17-year-old. "That's the place for me, the atmosphere and hype of playing there and getting a good education is what I am working hard to achieve."

Prior to this season, Nazar was named to the Team Western Ontario All Star team that played in the Under 17 Canada Cup. This year he was named one of the 30 best players in Toronto by being voted to the Toronto Star High School Football All Star. He was also offered a scholarship by Iowa State.

So the question begs, how did we find another talented player from so far away? Well the answer is simple: our coaches are literally recruiting the entire North American Continent for players. These players were discovered by Rice OL Coach Blake Miller. Coach Miller worked at a camp in Canada last year and made note of several great prospects. The players has great academic records so recruiting them was easier than a lot of our targets are. Rice coach DJ Eliot added when he told me that beyond the distance factor, recruiting Canada is actually an easy sell. "The Canadian players we've targeted know about the value of a Rice education. They place just as much value on the academic opportunities at Rice as they do the chance to play big time college football. We have several targets in Canada that we'll continue to evaluate - if they can help us build a championship program we'll try to add them to our team."

Nazar is already a great prospect physically. At just 17, he's a lean 6-5 290. Much like fellow Canadian Scott "Captain Canuck" Mitchell he has never been in an advanced strength and conditioning program though. Mitchell came to Rice with an incredibly strong lower body base and in just a few months in Yancy McNight's legendary strength program has gotten much stronger in his upper body. The exciting thiong about adding Nazar now is that he has a real opportunity to contribute this fall because of his mid term enrollment. He will go through winter strength and conditioning and spring drills. He's got nine months to learn our blocking system and get bigger-faster-stronger. Mitchell was able to crack the starting lineup by mid-season as a true freshman. Perhaps Nazar will do the same.

Could we see bookend Canuck offensive tackles, each standing 6-5 and 300 pounds this fall? Could be..

If this trend of adding Canadian players to the team continues we may have to learn the words to "Oh Canada". We have our eyes on another one too, stay tuned...


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