A former Rice football player has acknowledged his role in the death of an ex-teammate.
In early March of 2018, Rice football player Blain Padgett was found dead in his apartment after he failed to show for a football workout and a wellness check was performed. In late June, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the 21-year-old defensive end’s death was caused by the toxic effects of carfentanil, which was described as being designed originally as an elephant tranquilizer.
Seven months later, former Owls defensive lineman Stuart Mouchantaf was charged with manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance in connection to Padgett’s death. Authorities allege that it was Mouchantaf who sold Padgett the pills that directly led to his death. That charge was a second-degree felony that carries a penalty ranging from five years to 99 years or life in prison.
Thursday, however, Mouchantaf pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute causing death and possession with the intent to distribute causing death. Mouchantaf will be sentenced May 14. He is facing 20 years-to-life and a fine of up to $1 million.
The 27-year-old Mouchantaf was a defensive tackle at Rice from 2012-15 after beginning his collegiate career at Blinn College.
In 2016, the 6-5, 250-pound Padgett was second on the team in tackles for loss with 5½ and led all Owls defensive linemen with 41 tackles. He played in just three games in 2017 before going down with a shoulder injury. He also played in eight games as a true freshman in 2015, Mouchantaf’s last season with the Owls.
“You’ve got to remember he played football with Blain for one year, so we saw him on the football field,” Wyndi Marsh-Padgett, Blain’s mother, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’d be different if we didn’t know him at all. It’s hard to see him and think about. He has family. …
“We just miss [Blain] terribly. Miss him every day.”