"Man I'm on a real high right now - this is the offer I've been waiting for and it finally came. My whole family is just ecstatic - my dad is running around trying to chest bump everyone telling them his son is going to play football at Rice!"
Isn't it awesome that a highly sought after recruit wants to play football at Rice so much that he commits on the spot?!? Credit goes to the entire Rice coaching staff for presenting the program and the University in such a manner that would build Lancaster's interest to such a high level. But you have to give Lancaster a lot of that credit too. He gave the Owl coaches little choice but to notice him.
Since attending Rice's Junior Day last March, Lancaster has diligently stayed in contact with area recruiter Coach Blake Miller. "I e-mailed him just about every week," said Lancaster.
That Junior Day visit almost never happened. Lancaster had not received an invitation to the event, though one had been sent for him. "I wasn't sure I would be welcomed without an inviation." Thank goodness for Rice that he made the trip. He was blown away, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"Rice had everything I was looking for and the campus was just incredible. The coaches were real friendly at Junior Day and the experience was real positive for me."
To say the least.
Lancaster decided after that trip that Rice was at the top of his list and eventually ended up waiting for Rice to offer - even while other schools pulled the trigger. Air Force, Army, then North Texas offered. "It was a little frustrating because Rice was definitely my favorite. I had to stay focused in my training and tell myself that even though I liked a particular school (Rice), the best choice for me may not be the one I wanted. I went into the summer with an open mind with the goal of performing at my highest level as I went to different camps."
Ultimately it was at one of those camps that Lancaster made the impression that would determine his course for the future, though it was at a different position than he had previously thought. "Rice worked me out at Safety and it was a lot of fun. They were telling me I had fluid hips and they liked my speed." Soon thereafter the offer Lancaster had hoped for became reality.
"I was talking to Coach Miller and he asked me to fax my SAT scores in so I knew something was going down. He told me they were offering me a scholarship."
It didn't take Lancaster long to accept, though he wanted to be sure of his offer because it hasn't arrived yet in the mail. "After I talked to Coach Miller I called Coach Bailiff to ask about the offer because I was ready to commit. He told me his word is "golden" and that he doesn't go back on it. He told me he expects big things from me at Rice and expects me to help them win championships. I told him he'd get 110% from me."
Interestingly, prior to committing Lancaster ran into Trey Briggs at SMU's Mini Camp on Sunday and the two joked that they might see each other again at Rice someday. The meeting was foretelling.
Two days later, they both became Rice Owl commits.
Now that he's committed I asked if he was still going to the camps he had scheduled. "No sir. Recruiting is done for me, I'm a Rice Owl."
Lancaster is listed as a 3-Star prospect by Scout, and is listed as the 45th best OLB prospect in the country, though he'll likely begin play at Rice with Coach Craig Naivar's bunch at Safety.
Jarek Lancaster - Inside the Numbers
40 yard dash 4.52 seconds
Pro Shuttle 4.02 seconds
Vertical Jump 34"
Bench Press 300 pounds
Squat 425 pounds
As a junior Jarek recorded 122 tackles, including 39 solos, 6 TFL's, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, 3 ½ sacks, & 1 blocked punt. He is currently carrying a 3.91 GPA, including 15 honors classes, ranking him 53rd out of 793 students in his junior class, he scored a 1760 on his SAT, including 1100 math/ verbal. He has retaken the SAT.