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Future Rice quarterback’s cat drawing national attention

Rice received a QB commitment and some unanticipated publicity for writing a letter to White Sox. J.T. Granato verbally committed to play football at Rice starting in 2015.
John Granato

A purrfect recruiting tactic to land a Houston high school quarterback likely left J.T Granato’ cat feline good.

Granato, a junior at The Kinkaid School, recently made a verbal commitment to Rice University. The Owls may have gotten a claw up on the competition by sending Granato’s cat, White Sox, a handwritten letter from Rice co-offensive coordinator Billy Lynch.

“As you know we’re trying to convince J.T. Rice is the place for him,” the letter stated. “I know you’d like to keep him close so he can feed you and change the litter box. Please help us to get him to choose us. Paw me if you have any questions.”

The letter showed Rice wasn’t kitten around. The Houston Cougars also had offered Granato a scholarship, and reportedly there was some interest from Texas A&M, TCU, Florida and Michigan State.

“@JTGranato10 committed to Rice today,” tweeted his father, John Granato, a host for Houston’s Yahoo Sports Radio 1560, on Thursday. “Rice closed the deal by sending JT’s cat a recruiting letter. Well done Owls.”

The 6-3, 205-pound Granato is listed as a 3-star recruit by Rivals and Scout. The pro-style QB threw for 3,394 yards and 42 touchdowns during an undefeated junior season.

Since furrrocious journalists are always looking for a fun story, mentions of Granato’s cat have appeared in Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Yahoo!, Time, USA Today, The Seattle Times, The Salt Lake City Tribune, Phily.com and several local and state media outlets. The story also went international.

Damon Sayles of ESPN.com contacted the Granato family to find out what White Sox thought of the recruiting pitch.

“She didn’t care,” J.T. Granato said. “She doesn’t care about anything.”

It meant a little more to J.T.

“I mean it was really funny honestly,” he said. “It was just so crazy how hard they recruited me.”

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