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Rice Defensive Players to Watch Vs. Texas

The Rice Owls won't have much offensively, but they are returning nine starters for 2021

Week 3 will be the final dress rehearsal for Texas as they prep for Big 12 play. As Texas Tech is set to head to DRK, Casey Thompson and Hudson Card must strut their stuff to prove one of them can become QB1 for the remainder of the year. 

Rice, who finished the 2020 campaign at 2-3 under Mike Blomgren, will be hopeful the new addition of Luke McCaffrey can elevate the offense. Defensively? He's in line for at least an over high-end season. 

The Owls will return eight starters from 2020, with two part-time starters replacing the losses. Naturally, an offense under Steve Sarkisian is destined to put up points, but will Rice — who allowed an average of 341.6 yards per game — be able to contain them? 

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No one truly knows until the season is underway. Make sure to stick with Longhorns Country through our season preview series, where we will analyze every opponent on Texas' schedule in 2021.

Here are several Rice players fans should keep an eye on for September 28, though. 

NFL

LB Antonio Montero

With Blaze Alldredge heading to the SEC, the Owls need a new leader up the middle. Montero is a little smaller than the tackling machine, standing at a mere 6 feet, but he can make up for size with a wrap-up tackling mentality.  

NFL

DT De'Braylon Carroll

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Sacks were not the strength of Rice in 2020, with no one recording more than 1.5 on the season. Carroll, though, might be the biggest x-factor and enforcer on the defensive front. At 287 pounds, his smaller frame allows him to be effective up the middle against weaker offensive lineman, causing terror up the middle. 

NFL

DB Andrew Bird

Rice's secondary was a weak point, but Bird might be the best of the bunch. Flexible enough to move inside and on the perimeter, the Fort Worth native led the team in pass breakups last season with three, along with an interception. Despite playing in just three games, the upside around his overall game gives him the best advantage for a successful start to 2021. 

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NFL

DB Kirk Lockhart 

Lockhart plays more of the stereotypical box safety role with a run-first mentality. Last season, the Cedar Hill native recorded the second-most tackles with 28 stops, plus three games of seven-plus tackles. If Texas turns to the run game, he'll be someone to watch out for in the open field. 

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What do you think of Texas' chances to beat Rice? Comment and join in on the discussion below!

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