There will be at least one very famous father in the stands at Rice Stadium this coming season.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Luke Armstrong (pictured, being held up by his father) has committed to play his college football at Rice as a preferred walk-on. The offensive lineman is the son of Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion who had those titles stripped because of the infamous doping scandal.
As the Houston Chronicle noted, Armstrong was 5-9 and weighed 165 pounds during his racing prime; Armstrong’s son is 6-3, 250 pounds. The American-Statesman wrote that “[t]he elder Armstrong’s football career didn’t extend much beyond a Pop Warner league in Garland, Texas.”
The younger Armstrong, who had verbally committed to the Owls earlier this month, played his high school football at Westlake High School in Travis County, Texas. He was an all-district guard for a Chaparrals squad that made it to the state semifinals this past season.
It’s Selection Sunday weekend in college basketball, but in college football we’re celebrating a different holiday. It’s Former Rice Owls Announce Graduate Transfers To Power 5 Institutions Weekend. (Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?)
After left tackle Calvin Anderson — arguably the most sought-after non-quarterback graduate transfer in the rule’s history — announced his commitment to Texas on Saturday and defensive lineman Preston Gordon revealed his commitment to Texas Tech, former Owls safety J.T. Ibe confirmed he is leaving for South Carolina.
“I love the environment of the coaches and players,” Ibe told GamecockCentral.com. “I want to play the biggest football and compete to win an SEC championship.”
In Ibe, South Carolina adds an experienced player to a green secondary. The Mansfield, Texas, native appeared in 33 career games for the Owls and registered 42 tackles with one forced fumble in 2017.
South Carolina loses both starting safeties — D.J. Smith and Chris Lammons — to graduation from the 2017 team. Ibe figures to compete with a fellow senior transfer Keisean Nixon or junior Javon Charleston for a starting spot.
Saturday has morphed into Announcement Day on the Rice graduate transfer front.
Earlier today, offensive tackle Calvin Anderson announced via Twitter that he has decided to transfer to Texas. A couple of hours later, Anderson’s former Rice teammate, Preston Gordon, took to the same social media website to announce that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Texas Tech.
Like Anderson, Gordon will be eligible to use his final season of collegiate eligibility immediately as he will be headed to Lubbock as a graduate of his previous university.
In addition to a trip to Tech early on in the transfer process, the defensive tackle had also visited Kansas. Alabama had shown interest as well, as did Syracuse, TCU, Tulane and UConn.
The last three seasons, Gordon started 28 games for the Owls, including all 12 in 2017. In 2016, Gordon tied for the team lead in sacks with 3.5, while his 6.5 tackles for loss led all interior linemen on the squad. This past season, he was third on the team in tackles for loss with 4.5.
It’s March, but Texas’s 2018 signing class just got even better. The Longhorns’ 27-man haul included three 5-stars and 10 4-stars, ranking No. 3 nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings. And while their ranking isn’t budging, the Longhorns just added — for the 2018 season only — the equivalent of another 5-star recruit. In fact, he may be even better than that.
Calvin Anderson, a two-time Honorable Mention All-Conference USA product at Rice the past two seasons, announced Saturday he will be a graduate transfer to Texas. Anderson announced he was leaving Rice in January and spent the past two months enjoying a recruiting process he did not receive as a recruit. Anderson was heavily pursued by Michigan, Oklahoma and Auburn as the star member of the 2018 free agent class, but chose Texas in the end. He is an Austin native and a graduate of Westlake High School.
The writing was on the wall late Friday night, when Texas quarterback and fellow Westlake alum Sam Ehlinger cryptically tweeted the following:
As he mentioned in the video, Anderson started the past 36 games at left tackle at Rice, and as a Longhorn he figures to slide into the spot Connor Williams was supposed to fill in 2017 but could not due to spending the bulk of the season on the injured list. With Anderson in the fold, Texas figures to have one of the most experienced left sides of the offensive line in college football this fall. Left guard Patrick Vahe (a senior) and center Zach Shackelford (a junior) have both started since their respective true freshman seasons.
And while it won’t affect the 2018 product, Texas got some more good news on the recruiting front earlier Saturday when wide receiver Jordan Whittington also committed to Texas.
A Cuero, Texas native, Whittington is the No. 4 wideout and the No. 26 overall recruit in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
For a handful of programs, the wait is almost over.
In January, starting left tackle Calvin Anderson announced his decision to transfer from Rice. Michigan and Texas were deemed the front-runners to land the lineman early on, with Auburn, Oklahoma, Texas A&M (HERE) and TCU mentioned as possibilities as well.
On his personal Twitter account Wednesday night, Anderson indicated that he will make a decision on his new college football home this coming Saturday. Anderson also seemed to intimate in a video attached to the tweet that he has whittled his potential landing spots down to four programs — Auburn, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas.
Whichever of the contenders Anderson ultimately selects, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2018 as a graduate transfer. This will be his final season of eligibility.
After redshirting as a true freshman, Anderson started 36 straight games at left tackle for the Owls. He was honorable mention All-Conference USA each of the past two seasons.