One of the areas of the roster where the Rice really needed to add depth this recruiting season was the defensive line. The Owls will need to replace at least one of their starting defensive ends from last season. But the real problem will come after next season, when the Owls will lose five defensive lineman, according to Joseph Duarte at the Houston Chronicle.
To provide depth at defensive end, the Owls signed Justin Booth (Dayton), Miles Lee (East Bernard), Michael Sam (Strake Jesuit) and Edwin Hooper (Texarkana). Bailiff said Booth and Sam could compete for playing time as freshmen, while Hooper may be a candidate to gray shirt, which means he would not enroll until January.
The Owls picked up a pair of intriguing prospects at defensive tackle in Christian Covington (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Ross Winship (Klein).
Covington is a particularly intriguing prospect, because he just turned 17 and is already 6-foot-3, 285 pounds. He may not be ready to contribute at such a young age, but he could be a special player if he continues to grow and develop.
It's important to remember to be patient with these players. While Duarte suggests that some of them may be ready to contribute right away, they will become important parts of the team after the next season, when they will step into the shoes of the players currently ahead of them on the depth chart.
The other position where the Owls really added a lot of depth was at wide receiver. The difference between the new receivers and the new defensive lineman is that the new crop of wideouts will be expected contribute early. Coach Bailiff seems to think they will be able to do that.
At wide receiver, Bailiff said the Owls’ three signings — Lovett Gibson (Cedar Hill), Malcolm Hill (Frisco Liberty)and J.J. Walker (Linden Kildare) — have the speed and play-making ability to make an impact early. A fourth — Grant Peterson of Round Rock Westwood — is listed as a tight end but played receiver during his senior season.
These were two areas of the team that the Owls needed to address and it seems like they have been successful in doing so. We'll see if the players they signed pan out.