July wasn’t the most fruitful month in regards to David Bailiff and the Rice Owls’ recruiting efforts. In fact, if you’re judging on the basis of pledges, Rice received none throughout the month, but June preceded as the kind of period an entire class can be built upon, as the Owls landed 12 of their 13 pledges with the other coming on May 31.
While at the Texas High School Coaches Convention in Houston, Bailiff jokingly credited Rice head baseball coach Wayne Graham, whose program won a conference title on May 28, for jumpstarting the Owls’ 2018 recruiting haul.
“First off, when Wayne Graham wins a conference championship, every year we get a commitment,” Bailiff said. “It’s been that way 11 years in a row so I knew as soon as Wayne won that conference title, so of those recruits were going to come in.”
One commit – sure. But Bailiff admittedly didn’t expect such of progressive 30 days on the recruiting trail. While there were recruits Rice was certainly in position to land, the timing of their various pledges is what came as a bit of a surprise, and as is often the case in recruiting, the dominos started falling.
“We were feeling really good about some of them almost being there, but when they started going it just picked up steam and momentum and all those guys we thought we were going to get went ahead and committed to us,” Bailiff said.
At one point, a three-day stretch in the middle of the month – June 15-17 – produced a rapid-fire flurry of commitments. Seemingly overnight, Rice’s class grew from just four commitments to the 13 pledges currently on board in the matter of one weekend.
It’s the kind of surge that even a coach as seasoned as Bailiff had never experienced.
“No, we were absolutely amazed,” Bailiff said about if he’d ever seen so many subsequent commitments in such a short period of time.
“We couldn’t even get out the #HootAndHollar it was happening so fast. We might as well quit because they commit now and put it out before we can even do anything so we just let them handle that,” Bailiff said laughingly.
The aforementioned weekend surge served as Rice’s most recent recruiting success, though, and the Owls have now gone without another pledge since June 17. The newly implemented August dead period essential becomes another roadblock in the way of sparking some further momentum on the recruiting trail.
Consequently, Bailiff and the Owls are in passive mode at the moment.
“Moving forward, you can speed it up or slow it down and we’re kind of in a passive mode right now and then in August for the first time, it’s dead; you can’t have guys on your campus,” Bailiff said. “That will be unique to us this year, also because we’d always used August as a time, especially to get the local guys over to come watch you practice and we won’t be able to do that this year.”
Of course, things aren’t actively as entertaining in the Owls’ offices as they were in June, but then again, very few occurrences at any program can replicate such substantial success in such a short period of time.
July proved to be a slow month and the August dead period likely means much of the same, but Rice is still well on its way to securing its most notable recruiting haul since 2007, especially is Bailiff and his staff can come anywhere near replicating June’s success between now and National Signing Day.
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