Brian Womac (Houston/Memorial) wants the best of both worlds: a high-level education at a premier school and a Division I football experience.
Rice offered him the chance for both, including football at the FBS level, and only about 15 minutes away from his home in a nice package that compelled Womac to give the Owls his verbal commitment.
"It's awesome," Womac said Friday. "It hadn't really hit me yet, but I'm still so excited and it's a dream come true."
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound outside linebacker held offers from Ivy League schools Harvard and Princeton and also received interest from Air Force, Louisiana Tech, Navy and San Jose State. Academics are a priority for Womac, and he strongly considered Harvard, but he wanted the FBS experience as well.
"Rice, it balances both," he said. "You get Division I football and you get a top-notch education at a private university so it's awesome."
Recruited by quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Larry Edmondson, Womac said he has been told that he figures into the Owls' defense as a defensive end with the chance to put his hand on the ground or stand up.
With Edmondson, Womac has built a strong relationship, which also played a role.
"It was pleasure being recruited by him," Womac said. "I told my parents and my girlfriend after my first phone call with him it felt like he was a grandfather figure or an uncle. I was always really relaxed when talking to him. Of all the coaches recruiting me I definitely had the best relationship with him."
Many in his family wanted him to stay close to home so that they could be a part of his athletic experience in the coming four-to-five years. That played a factor as well, meeting all of the needs that Womac sought in the recruiting process.
"Rice University had all the boxes checked for me," he said. "Everything I was looking for in school is at Rice University. I'm sure I may get other offers down the road I'm sure but I can't imagine that I'd want to go to a school other than Rice."