If it were up to Phillip Gaines' mother he would have been a Rice Owl last summer. Gaines was offered a scholarship after an impressive Rice Camp in July - not too long afterwards his mother knew where she wanted her son to go.
She liked the Rice coaches' integrity and honesty. And of course there was "the Rice education" that no other schools recruiting her son could come close to offering.
Phillip was interested in Rice at the time also but wanted to look around a little bit. Mississippi State had caught his attention after a visit to Starkville.
The lure of playing football in the SEC was appealing.
"Mom" allowed Phillip to go through the process this fall as several more schools came forward with offers.
Still she had one favorite.
And after an in-home visit from Rice Cornerbacks Coach Jason Washington a few weeks ago, and then an official visit to Rice a couple weeks ago, Phillip and Mom finally agreed - Rice was the place.
Phillip called Rice coaches last Friday to take his place in what may be the best Rice class in decades.
Gaines fits right into the talent pool.
The 6-0 175 pound Cornerback from Converse Judson really impressed Rice Coaches at the July Rice Mini Camp. His size, change of direction, ball skills, and speed made him a coveted target.
Gaines' ran stellar pro-shuttle and 40 times at the camp. What Rice coaches saw was a player that could eventually be a 6-1 195 "big" Corner in a couple years. Exactly what C-USA Defenses need to defend the 6-3+ size Receivers it seems every team in the conference has.
Gaines speed is without question - clocked as low as 4.41 in the forty; he also ran a leg on the Judson 4x400 Meter relay team that won Bronze at the Texas State Meet last spring.
Like fellow Rice commit Corey Frazier, who also visited the weekend of December 19th, Gaines will start out as a Cornerback at Rice, but possesses the body type to easily convert to Safety as a more physically mature player at Rice.
As a senior this fall Gaines made several big interceptions en route to being named 1st Team All-District.
Gaines chose the Owls over several major conference schools - Mississippi State, Kansas State, Northwestern, and Purdue. He had offers from Mississippi State and Kansas State; and also had others from UTEP, North Texas, and Texas State.
Phillips is the 15th member of the 2009 Class.
Welcome to Rice Phillip!