"I Didn't Want To Miss Out"

Rice got a nice surprise last week when Paul Porras of Scottsdale Saguaro HS decided an offer from the Owls was too good to pass up...

Heading into recruiting for the 2009 class, the Rice Owl Football program knew it wanted more Safeties for it's 4-2-5 defense. The Owls have accomplished that goal in gaining commits from San Antonio O'Connor's Jarek Lancaster, Kirbyville's Broderick Jackson, and on Friday picked up another great defensive back commit from a standout two-way athlete from out West - Paul Porras.

Porras had made an unofficial visit to Rice the day before the July 17th Mini Camp this month, and was offered the next day after Camp workouts. The visit made a lasting impression.

"I just kind of knew when I stepped foot on that campus that this was going to be the place where I wanted to go. Everything about the campus - the academics, the coaches, it felt right immediately."

Porras attended a camp at Northwestern University last week, so his commitment came as a little bit of a surprise to Owl fans.

"The feeling really got stronger as the week went on. I had an idea even before making that trip that Rice was where I wanted to go. I went ahead and made the trip because I had made a commitment to those coaches that I would be there. When it was done I was ready to call (Rice) Coach (Darrell) Patterson and tell him I was coming to Rice."

When Coach David Bailiff got the news from Porras on Friday he was ecstatic.

"Coach Bailiff just said how great the recruiting class was and how excited he was to have a player like me joining the Rice family."

And the "type" of player Porras is can be defined by terms like athletic, instinctive, smooth, and technically sound.

Porras' father Tom played Quarterback at the University of Washington before going on to a professional career in the Canadian Football League. He led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the 1986 Grey Cup Championship. He's remained in the game ever since, coaching elite athletes in the Arizona and Southern California area. Count two of his star pupils as his own - son Tyler is a Safety at Stanford, and of course younger son Paul now follows his older brother in playing Division I football.

As expected, both are extremely sound in the fundamentals of the game.

"We'd work out very day on fundamentals, just the basics. I played 5 sports growing up and learned to think as quickly as I could react. My dad was, and is, a big part of why I have the instincts I do."

Combine those instincts with Paul's work ethic and athletic ability and you see why Rice has a heck of player coming to Houston next year. Add to the fact that Porras is a highly intuitive player, he possesses rare quickness and change of direction ability.

This past weekend he participated in a national combine in San Diego. The event hosted over 250 recruits from 25 different states. Porras rose to the occasion against the nation's elite by picking off 3 passes in 1-on-1 drills.

In performance testing he also posted a 6.90 second time in the L-cone drill. By comparison, that time would rank as the fastest at both our Dallas and New Orleans Under Armour/Scout Combines. To put the icing on the cake, Porras posted a 4.03 second pro shuttle time. Again that time would have put him in an elite group at those combines - only Michigan commit Dwayne Peace and Boise St. commit Quaylon Ewing posted better times at either event.

And while quickness and change of direction are obviously abundant in Paul's game, he's also got enough straight-line speed to be a great player at the next level - he posted a 4.56 forty on field turf at the Northwestern Mini Camp last week.

Athleticism not withstanding, Porras' experience as a winner is just as attractive to Rice. Saguaro (Suh-WAH-ro) is 35-1 over the last 3 years, and they expect to win it all again this year.

"We're expecting a 3-peat Championship this year. We've got like 8 guys who will possibly play D-I ball."

Porras will play Receiver again this fall after putting up big numbers on offense last year - 40 catches for 1,032 yards, a 25.8 yards per catch average. He also posted 91 tackles on defense, with 2 interceptions. He'll also play Cornerback for the Sabercats this fall.

As mentioned Paul ia a multi-sport athlete. He's also a two-time team MVP for the Saguaro Track Team. He's competed in the 110 and 300M Hurdles but excels at the Triple Jump - where he posted a 44'1 inch leap last year, good enough for second place at the State Meet. He hopes to reach 46' this year and perhaps win State.

Though athletics is a huge part of Porras' future, academics are just as important as evident in his other schools of interest.

"I checked out Harvard, we visited there. I'm really excited about Rice though because I feel like I'm getting the same kind of Ivy League education without going clear across the country."

After travelling to 7 different campuses this summer, one place, and one staff, felt perfect for Paul.

"The Rice campus was just amazing. I met each of the coaches when I visited there and they had all seen my film. I was impressed by that. But they were also very down to earth. I got to meet some of the players too and they really spoke highly of the program and the coaching staff. I could tell they believed in what was going on with the future of the program. It was just an opportunity I couldn't pass up!"

Welcome to Texas, Paul!

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