Here's a commentary on the status at each position:
Quarterback – Its been established that this is probably the best crop of QBs in Texas in a number of years. The Owls would like to have one but don't feel its an absolute necessity. Rice won't take a QB unless they feel real good about the prospect – they have John Thomas Shepherd and Ryan Lewis waiting in the wings, though James Casey could be the guy running the show next year. Brent Hotard can also play QB. It's not a dire need.
Running Back – Similar situation to QB. The Owls have 1 Senior, 2 Juniors, 2 Sophomores, and a Freshman on the depth chart. By the numbers they have enough at the position. This position will likely be filled by the best "athlete" that commits, meaning he'll get a look at RB but could also play at another position if he doesn't impact the roster playing in the backfield. They won't take a RB just to be taking one.
Offensive Line – With current commits the Owls are in great shape. Jon Hodde and Bobby Janisch are great prospects and credit goes to the Owl staff, especially Craig Naivar for working so hard to bring these guys in. Alex Lowry is a commit that is being considered a "lineman" right now. If the Owls were fortunate enough to have another of their top OL prospects want to commit – Cade Shaw for example – Lowry could move to the DL. Regardless of what happens going forward the Owls have a great group here.
TE – The Owls need a TE in this class but it's a bit of a thin crop. The Owls liked Hutson Prioleau but he committed to Texas A&M early. Klein Oak TE Jordan Najvar has a Rice offer but also has about 20 others. Eric Graham is an intriguing possibility. He's got the frame (6-6 245), speed (4.75 forty, 24 second 200M) and blocking ability (played OT last year, will play OC this year) to be a good Tight End. The unknown is if he can be a legitimate receiving threat. The July Mini Camp will give him a chance to shine for coaches. James Pearson from Haltom and Colby Goodwin from Cy-Fair are others.
WR – Rice will likely just take one after signing several last year. The Owls would like another big target to add to the group.
DL – The Owls could sign another DL, but from a numbers standpoint are actually pretty full. Alex Lowry could pair with a Defensive Tackle like Cody Davis to give the Owls a stellar DL haul.
DE – with Vance McDonald coming in January and Josh Skinner and Cody Bauer committed, the Owls are done with recruiting at the position. I wouldn't be surprised to see McDonald end up at Tight End at some point, depending on how recruiting goes at TE this year.
LB – The Owls want two. Trey Briggs is a huge commit for the program not only because he is a heck of a LB, but also because the Owls don't have a backup deep snapper for Brandon Long – Briggs is very good at this as well. We've talked about the other possibilities for the other LB spot – Charles Ross, James Chambers and Jelani Johnson are a few.
S – Jarek Lancaster might eventually grow into a Linebacker but I think he's ideally suited for Safety at this point. Rice wants two players at the position and has a lot of lines in the water. The Owls really recruit a broad spectrum of abilities within the position since they utilize 3 in their 4-2-5 Defense. This is a very important position in the Owls defense – I could see recruiting still evolving as late as January, the Owls need impact players here. Malcolm Johnson would be great.
CB – The Owls would like two here as well. Alex Francis plays the style of coverage the Owls like. I could see recruiting going down the same way as the Safety positions here. Rice must continue to fill this position with impact players. A tough task granted but CB is a pivotal position for any defense. I spoke with Darius Miller in Midland last night; he's coming to the July Mini Camp and would be a great addition at CB or RB.
Rice is recruiting more than one recruit at several high schools. Here a few teammates that would make a big impact at Rice…
Cody Davis (DL) and Jordan Najvar (TE) – Klein Oak
Alex Francis (CB) and Jelani Johnson (LB) – FB Hightower
Alex Updyke (WR) Steven Baker (S) – Garland
Darius (LB) and Darnell Taylor (S) - Mesquite
--- I've gotten word from a recruit that he could be pulling the trigger on a Rice commit in the coming days. I've been asked not reveal the recruit so we'll have to wait until things unfold. He would make everyone here thrilled with his commit.
And this may not be the only good news coming in the next few days either. It's a great time to be a Rice Owl!