But lest we all begin the hand-wringing let me remind you that Rice had "0" commits at this time last year - and then went on to sign the best group of 24 recruits the school has perhaps ever compiled in a class.
So while the others strike quickly, they aren't necessarily taking all the best players - maybe just the most advertised.
Rice through a diligent process, delayed in large part by academic evaluations, will get good players once again in 2010. In fact, the 4 commits they already have are outstanding, and are perhaps a symptom of progress made both on the field and on Signing Day in February.
The selling points to play football between the hedges on South Main are many. Among them: world class education, small class rooms, a dynamic family oriented football staff featuring the C-USA Coach-of-the-Year David Bailiff, a recent history of players being drafted by the NFL, and as important as anything a program that won 10 games, including a bowl victory in 2008.
Attracting players interested in joining the success isn't a problem.
So why the delay in filling the class?
Simply put it's a minimal margin for error. Rice coaches probably spend as much time studing a high school player's transcript as they do his game film. A "mistake" in recruiting can be costly. In a building environment, all players must contribute for a program to sustain short term success. Fact is, once a player comes to Rice, he is not likely to leave without completing a degree. Unlike their conference and regional conuterparts, Rice simply does not have players flunk out or transfer. The education is just too good. So, with this being the case, scholarship numbers are limited in almost any given year.
This year that is particularly true - the team will likely only sign 12-15 players for 2010.
As mentioned, the Owls have had little trouble attracting interest, in fact they've had an overwhelming amount of interest this year. Recruits want to come to Rice! So, as coaches evaluate each of those recruits, both in the classroom and on the field, just know that they are hard at work assembling what may end up being an even better class than last year!
Something to add, the Owls also rely heavily on their Rice Football Camp for evaluations - which get started in just a couple of weeks.
In summary, the Rice process may be slower, but has arguably proven to be quite effective looking at the last two incoming classes. Once again, I believe we'll all be smiling come February! Be patient.
Until then, here's a position breakdown of what is likely left to round out the 2010 class: 1 Quarterback, 1 Running Back, 3 Offensive Linemen, 2 Receivers, 1 Defensive Lineman, 2 Defensive Backs.
Quarterbacks: Louisiana QB Taylor Bullock is intriguing because of his accuracy and athleticism. Rice OC and Quarterbacks Coach Ed Zaunbrecher has been on the road personally evaluating prospects in recent weeks. The Owls offered a scholarship and actually received several campus visits from high regarded Second Baptist QB Connor Wood, before Wood eventually verballed to the Texas Longhorns. Other possibilities include Cuero's Tyler Arndt, and Westlake's Tanner Price.
Running Backs: Josh Bell, Michael Murphy and Darryl Fields highlight the list of possibilities here. Bell hasn't been offered yet but is being given a very close look. He plays in a Veer Offense so the Owls are evaluating his abilities for their zone-run scheme. Murphy has 17 touchdowns last year at Desoto and once a "sleeper", Fields has now received offers from 9 of the 12 teams in the Big 12. The small town talent from Oklahoma is a longshot. Others to watch include Keller Central's Trenton Turrentine who is returning from a knee injury.
Wide Receiver: Kevin Johnson is the biggest name on the Owls' list. At 6-2 and with 4.4 second speed, Johnson is also on the list of a dozen other schools that have offered in addition to Rice. Woodlands Receiver Randy Knust is on the verge of receiving an offer from the Owls. Denison QB/Athlete Jordan Taylor is holding a Rice offer. At 6-4, he could grow into a fleet-footed Tight End in college. Giddings' Marcellus Mack can really fly - he's visited Rice with his parents and could be landing an offer from the Owls after camp. St. Pius Athlete Venric Mark is a standout return man who sitting on an Owl offer.
Offensive Line: The Owls are looking to add 3 in this class and have their eyes on some players with very high potential. AthleticArchie Muniz from Cy-Creek is one of those. He holds a Rice offer and is a heavy Rice lean at this point. Sulphur Springs Offensive Tackle Beau Carpenter is physically very similar to Muniz - he too holds a Rice offer. Carpenter has said he would attend Rice Camp, but has also said he would attend several others in recent days. He's getting offers by the bunches, including one from Texas Tech - his favorite. A recently offered recruit that Owls are high on is Farmersville interior O-Lineman Michael Thompson. He goes about 6-3 300 and played Center last year. The Owls want at least two here that can play inside. San Antonio Roosevelt's Justin Warren, Garrison's Austin Lunsford, and Jefferson's Trevor Murphy are also possibilities.
Defensive Line: The Owls already have an oustanding commit from Refugio's Dylan Klare. He will likely play DE for Rice. The Owls would also love to sign a Defensive Tackle. Current targets include Katy Taylor's Nico Carlson and 4-Star Eisenhower player Jay Guy, who has opened things up since making an early commit to Cal. Rice was also recruiting Dallas Jesuit Defensive Tackle Chuka Ndulue, who just committed to Oklahoma.
Linebacker: The Owls are probably full here after gaining the commits of Cinco Ranch LB James Radcliffe and Klein Forest's Cameron Nwosu. Chase Williams has an offer here but could also play TE, as could Kevin Kisseberth.
Safety: Gabe Baker thrilled the Owls with his commit a few weeks ago. He is a heavy hitter and can play any of the Safety positions in college. Katy's Sam Holl has an offer here too. Holl recently high-jumped 6-6. Desmond Martin and many others are also targets here.
Cornerback: The Owls have some great options to gain a speedy playmaker here. Cy-Woods Corner Bryce Callahan has had a Rice offer for months now, but still hasn't pulled the trigger. Recently, Round Rock Stony Point Kevin White, and Conroe's Chris Parks picked up Rice offers. If any of these 3 decide to pull the trigger the Owls will get a great lock-down type coverman. Though a little undersized right now, Rice is also watching Dulles CB Zach McMillian closely.