I thought a comparison of this group to the last 4 before it might be interesting to look at. Today we'll compare the Running Backs, starting with the Class of 2005. Though not in our comparison, I should mention that the Class of 2004 has been a very solid class – 8 of the 14 members that signed will be starters this year. Not so heralded at the time, Jarett Dillard is obviously now a permanent name in Rice Football history books. Of the 2004 Class, only Jonathan Carroll and Nathan Miller are no longer with the program. Luke Juist was a 4 year player that has already used his eligibility and Dietrich Davis is now a student assistant after being forced to give up the game as a result of injuries.
Recruiting Class Comparison - Running Back
Class of 2005
Trey Hopson – 5-10 216 4.6, Pascagoula, MS; C.J. Ugokwe – 5-9 191 4.6, Plano East; Tristan Thomas – 5-11 185 4.5, Fayetteville, AR; Marcus Knox – 5-10 190 Bellaire Episcopal; Christopher Douglas – 5-9 173, 4.5 FW All Saints' Episcopal
What looked like an impressive Running Back group dispersed rather quickly. Hopson and Thomas left school without playing a down. Chris Douglas is now a Cornerback. However, Ugokwe and Knox are currently in the rotation at Running Back. All three have lettered twice and are Redshirted Juniors heading into the 2008 season
Fast Forward: Current height and weights – Ugokwe is 5-11 215, Knox is 5-10 202, Douglas is about the same at 5-9 175.
Class of 2006
Robert Calhoun – 6-1 212 4.5, Duncanville
Though Calhoun came to Rice as a RB/LB, the "RB" part dropped from his official listed position quickly. He played Linebacker his freshman year and remains in the starting rotation there where he has excelled. Injuries are the only thing that have slowed him. He's got 2 letters and has a chance to become a 4 year Rice Letterman.
Fast Forward: Calhoun is now 6-1 225 pounds.
Class of 2007
Still has a chance to be an outstanding group. All 3 played extensively as Freshmen. Hill led all running Backs with 321 yards rushing. Smith's season came to a crashing halt against UTEP when his knee collided with the helmet of a UTEP defender on a kickoff return. He is currently rehabbing the knee and is ahead of schedule to return in 2009. Dupree played on all the Special Teams last year and practiced at Linebacker. He was moved back to Running Back in the spring. Hill and Dupree lettered while Smith was forced to take a redshirt year.
Fast Forward: Hill is 5-11 218 pounds, Dupree is 6-1 210, and Smith is 5-7 185.
Class of 2008
Shane Turner – 5-9 165 4.4, Houston Cy-Falls
Turner ultimately chose the Owls over Boston College and Northwestern. He was considered a 3 Star recruit and is extremely quick and shifty. Offers a different threat than the other backs on the Rice depth chart. His commitment to the Owls was considered one of the highlights in the 2008 class.
Fast Forward: Turner checked in around 160 pounds and is working to put mass on his frame.
Class of 2009
Charles Ross – 6-2 200 4.39, Schertz Clemens
Ross is a 3 Star recruit and considered the 64th best Running Back in the nation by Scout. His size and speed combination is one of the best in the country. Rushed for 1259 yards on 225 carries last year.
So there you have it – 5 years of Rice Running Back recruiting classes. Which one is your favorite? Go vote in the Owl's Nest…