Early returns strongly suggest that the day's turnout may have been one of the best Rice Football has ever had. Recruiting Coordinator D.J. Eliot and the rest of the Owl Football Coaches continue to gain momentum as one of the state's most efficient recruiting staffs.
While the Owls didn't push for any commitments Saturday, they positioned themselves firmly at the front in the race for several attending recruits.
One of those recruits was Sugar Land Kempner Running Back Josh Bell.
On a very windy spring day on the Rice Campus, Bell was blown away by the experience.
"I really, really liked it a lot. My parents did too. The campus is just right, its not too big at all - just the right size so that you can still know everybody. It was an awesome visit! Coach Bailiff is a great guy too and we really enjoyed talking with him."
The Owls obviously made a good impression with the talented Bell. The Kempner RB is also getting heavy interest from schools like Missouri and A&M. He is a physical back with good speed.
He has impressive numbers, currently 5-11 200 pounds, he boasts a 4.47 forty yard dash time, 4.25 second shuttle, and 33" vertical. Bell rushed for 518 yards on 96 carries last year, also scoring 6 touchdowns.
Kempner runs a Veer (option) Offense that distributes the ball among several Backs, and for that reason his yardage stats aren't real eye-popping. Nevertheless, he was named 1st Team All-District 23-5A as a junior. Though Kempner's Veer scheme is different from the Rice Zone Run, Josh thinks he would do well in Rice's Offense.
"I think I would be a good fit. I like the Offense they run a whole lot. It looks like an Offense I'd could do well in. The coaches are going to come out to my spring practices and watch me play - so I'll get a chance to show more of what I can do."
I asked Bell about his plans for camps and a commit timeline.
"I'm planning on going to Rice's camp, and maybe also the University of Florida's. I'd like to get a decision out of the way this summer, maybe even sooner. I'm going to sit down with my family and decide what's best for me."
So where does Rice fit into Bell's plans?
"I could really see myself going to Rice. It felt like home to me. I think I would fit in well there. My parents want me to be surrounded by good influences and we both want a top education. The football program is winning and the coaching staff is great. Rice really has everything. I'm leaning a lot towards them right now."
Sounds like an offer from the Owls might be too good to pass up for Josh - we'll keep you posted as his recruitment unfolds...