Sam Rice, a former Coppell standout who began his career at SMU, has transferred to North Texas.
A source close to the situation confirmed the move on Sunday morning.
Rice started six games for SMU last season, including five at left guard.
Rice was a highly recruited lineman out of Coppell who had offers from several schools, including New Mexico and Memphis, in addition to UNT and SMU.
Rice committed to UNT in December of 2011, but never returned my calls to talk about his decision to play for the Mean Green.
He eventually backed out of that commitment to sign with SMU, where is father played.
Rice quickly carved out a significant role for the Mustangs. I have no information on why he left the school.
Rice will have to sit out a season at UNT, but should have two years of eligibility remaining at with the Mean Green.
The timing appears as if it will work out well for UNT. Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo, UNT’s starting guards, will both be seniors in the fall. Both have been anchors for one of UNT’s best overall positional units the last two years.
Rice could sit out next season while Lemon and Y’Barbo finish out their careers and then step in during the 2015 season.
UNT has had great success with transfers during the Dan McCarney era. Safety Marcus Trice transferred from Oklahoma and went on to become a captain and a first-team All-Conference USA selection as a senior in 2013. Reggie Pegram transferred from Purdue and rushed for 338 yards in eight games in 2013 before a knee injury cut his season short.
This won’t be the first time UNT has taken a transfer from SMU. Julian Herron was one of a handful of players who did not have their scholarship renewed at SMU after the 2008 season. The linebacker landed at UNT as a transfer and became a key contributor for the Mean Green.
What could make Rice’s move from UNT to SMU all the more interesting is the schools are reviving their long-standing football series this fall.