Austin Zouzalik is a 6-0 178 pound athlete from Lubbock Coronado High School. Which by the way, is the school that one of our favorite Owls - Lute Barber - attended. Zouzalik has played mostly QB in the wing/spread offense for Coronado and is great with the ball in his hands. He is being recruited by Rice Coach Rick Lafavers as an athlete that could play a number of positions including receiver or defensive back. Lafavers will be at his school today to visit Zouzalik and Bo Campbell, a defensive end that is also a possible visitor this weekend.
Speed is Zouzalik's calling card. In fact, when we spoke last night I said to him, "I hear your pretty fast...". He replied with genuine West Texas modesty, "Some people have said that." I asked just how fast he was and he said, "I've run a 4.36 forty." I said, "Uh, yes Austin, that's pretty fast!" He was clocked at the Texas Tech camp at 4.37 - so the time is legit. His explosive measurables make him an attractive prospect: he's timed a 3.97 second pro shuttle and adds a 36" verticle to the list.
I asked who was recruiting him, "Texas Tech, Iowa State, UTEP, and Rice. UTEP is recruiting me as a quarterback, the rest are recruiting me as receiver or athlete. Iowa State hasn't offered but said they were waiting on a couple of decisions and would probably offer if those guys went somewhere else. Iowa State was here tonight when you called earlier. "
Zouzalik is extremely intelligent and is already qualified for Rice. He was named Offensive MVP of District 2-5A for Coach Butch Henderson's Lubbock Coronado Mustangs. He also garnered APSE 5A All-State honors, being named to the Honorable Mention list at quarterback. Another player and high school coach agree with those honors as they too have heaped praise upon Zouzalik's ability. Owl commit Roddy Maginot and Arlington Bowie Head Coach Kenny Perry joined in saying Zouzalik was the best player they faced all year.
Zouzalik will be taking the trip over from the Plains with Odessa Permian defensive end Ross Forrest. The two met on a visit to Texas Tech last weekend. "Ross seemed like a pretty good guy, we were in the same car together when we visited Tech."
Forrest is a 6-5 217 pound defensive end that played for the Mojo of Odessa Permian. He runs about 4.75 in the 40 and has a tremendous upside. He played linebacker last year, but moved to defensive end this year when Permian switched to a 4-3 defense. Forrest has the frame to be a 6-5 250 pass rushing monster in a couple years.
That upside hasn't gone unnoticed by other schools - Texas Tech, UTEP, and Baylor are all recruiting Forrest also. Baylor was in his home night before last. Rice was the first to offer however.
"I was really excited to get the offer, I've been real interested in Rice all along and was hoping to get an offer from them. I'd have to say they are my leader right now. I want to go down and check out the campus before making a decision."
The two will arrive Friday and will tour the campus, meet with academic advisors, meet current players, attend position meetings and will have one on one meetings with Head Coach David Bailiff.
National Signing Day id next Wednesday February 6th. The Owls have put together on eof their best classes in 20 years. Stay tuned to see how the class fills out...