2019 Conference USA QB Preview: Rice
Despite Rice’s 2-11 2018 record, last year was a step in the right direction and I am looking for Rice to take another step in 2019. It is no secret that Rice has never been a powerhouse football program, but from 2006-2014 Rice went to 5 bowl games, winning 3 of them. Before 2006 Rice had only been to 7 bowl games in its history. Growing up in Houston and being lightly recruited by Rice in high school, I remember this Rice football era clearly. One thing that all these bowl teams had in common was solid quarterback play. Chase Clement, Tyler McHargue, and Driphus Jackson were the quarterbacks that led Rice to bowl games during that stretch. In 2016, Rice got solid quarterback play from Tyler Stehling, before an injury ended his season short. The 2017 quarterback play took a big step backwards. The 2018 quarterback play took a step forward and I look for the 2019 quarterback play to continue in the right direction.
2018 QB Performance
Shawn Stankavage led the team last year in passing yards with 1,328 and passing touchdowns with 10. The transfer from Vanderbilt, who is out of his eligibility, did not set the world on fire, but at least provided some stability at the position. Wiley Green saw some valuable playing time as he finished the 2018 season with 621 yards through the air and 3 passing touchdowns. Evan Marshman also found playing time under center as well.
- As a team, the QB position posted a 53.5cmp%, 2,272 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns, and 16 interceptions
- Averaged 174.8 passing yards per game
2019 QB Preview
The quarterback position is up for grabs heading into the fall, but it seems Wiley Green is the favorite to start under center. Just because it seems to be his spot to lose does not mean there is no competition. Evan Marshman, who got playing time last year and is a good athlete, will be in the mix. Tom Stewart, who started the majority of the season for Harvard last year, will also be in the mix. Rice also has Sam Glaesmann and Parker Towns that will add depth to the quarterback roster, as well as incoming freshman Jovoni Johnson. It is certainly possible that any one of those guys could end up getting valuable snaps under center this year for the Owls. However, with the starting job most likely being between Green, Stewart, and Marshman, let’s spend some time going over them.
Wiley played in four games last year as a freshman, so I believe he should be a redshirt freshman for the 2019 season, but I could be wrong. Regardless, he got valuable playing time last year and was the only Rice quarterback last year to throw for over 300 yards in one game. He threw for 313 yards against UTEP in a game where he helped lead a furious comeback in which they fell just short. Green also threw for over 200 yards against North Texas and helped lead Rice to their only conference victory over Old Dominion, the last game of the year. After a full year of being in Rice’s system, and having another full offseason, we should look for Green to build on the success he had last year. He is the favorite to win the job, but will have to hold on to it and continue to improve. Below is a clip that shows his ability to escape the pocket and throw on the run. Impressive arm strength on the run.
Stewart is a transfer from Harvard, where he started the majority of games under center last year. He had 1,614yds passing, 14 passing touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. Stewart will have one year of eligibility for the Owls. He played sparingly at Harvard until last year when he took over the starting role. He throws a good, catchable ball, and takes care of it as you can tell by the 2 interceptions in 9 games. Stewart certainly did not transfer to Rice to sit on the bench and I would expect Stewart to really push for the starting job, especially if he picks up the playbook quickly. Below is a clip of Stewart doing a good job moving in the pocket and throwing an accurate pass for a touchdown.
Evan has the least amount of experience out of Green, Stewart, and himself. Despite only playing in two games last year, he still had some valuable snaps under center. Marshman is a redshirt sophomore who showed his athletic ability last year when he got a chance against FIU as he had 68 yards rushing and 2 rushing touchdowns against them. Regardless where he ends up on the depth chart, last year was good for him to get his feet wet. Below is a clip against FIU that shows his ability to run.
Even with Green being the favorite to win the job, the competition is worth keeping up with as anything can happen in fall camp. The guys I didn’t go into detail on will add depth in hopes of potentially getting a shot. As long as Rice finds some stability at the position, the team will continue to improve overall and potentially win some games that they are not “suppose” to win.