With five senior offensive linemen not returning in the fall, it was obvious where SMU's top priority was in their 2012 commitment class. Looking to find length, versatility and experience, the Mustangs picked up all three whenever Coppell product Sam Rice committed to SMU last week.
"I'm excited about it," said Doug Rice, Sam's father. "He's found a football home. He's excited about the quality of the education, quality of the staff and obviously as a father it's going to be neat to see a legacy player. I hope his experience is as good as mine was. I tell all my friends that he's way better than I was."
Roughly 25 years ago, Sam's father played on the Hilltop. Now, he gets to watch his son play on the same campus where he spent a lot of time. The influence of SMU running back Wes Suan was big through this process.
"SMU feels that Sam is a terrific football player but there's a feeling of a lot of athleticism and he has an innate football sense. They said they liked the way he moved and his athleticism and all the intangibles.
He got a lot of interest the summer and as the fall progressed."
The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder chose SMU over offers from North Texas, SMU, Marshall, Utah State, Duke, UTEP, New Mexico and Memphis. He is taking his official visit to SMU this weekend and will sign next Wednesday. Rice was a three-year varsity starter at Coppell.