With the Liberty Bowl in the rearview mirror, four Rice seniors will soon begin the process of proving they can play football professionally.
College all-star games will commence Saturday in South Carolina and extend through Jan. 25, giving professional scouts a closer look at prospects. Former Rice players have a good track record at these events, including last year when 49ers tight end Vance McDonald’s stock rose after a week of stellar Senior Bowl practices.
Rice kicker Chris Boswell has been invited to partake in this year’s Senior Bowl. The game will be held Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala. NFL Network will have the broadcast.
Boswell is the No. 1 rated NFL Draft prospect kicker according to CBS Sports, WalterFootball.com and nfldraftscout.com. He is projected to be a sixth or seventh round draft pick. He will participate in the NFL Combine on Feb. 22.
Boswell made 65 field goals during his distinguished career at Rice. He made 13 field goals from 50 yards or beyond, the most of any active college kicker. He has set several school records, including career field goals.
Rice defensive end Cody Bauer will participate in the first Medal of Honor Bowl. Kickoff is 1 p.m. CST Saturday in Charleston, S.C.
A new addition to the all-star line-up, the Medal of Honor Bowl has invited players from FBS teams as well as those from smaller schools. Bauer will play for the American team, which is guided by former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen.
Bauer led Rice with 5.5 sacks and was second on the team with 11 tackles for loss, including 7.5 in his last five games. He was a second-team all C-USA selection.
Rice long snapper Trevor Gillette will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Jan. 18 in Carson, Calif. He will suit up for the National team, which will be coached by former Eagles, Rams and Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil.
Gillette, an Austin native, earned all C-USA honors from league coaches and was named to Phil Steele’s All America second team. He made two tackles on punt coverage during the 2013 season and recovered a fumble at UTSA to set up a touchdown for the Owls. He is rated the No. 1 draft prospect at long snapper by CBS Sports.
Rice cornerback Phillip Gaines will play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Rice is considered east enough, so Gaines will play for East leader Jerry Glanville, former Atlanta Falcons and Houston Oilers coach.
Gaines allowed just 13 completions this season. He made 36 tackles and intercepted four passes. He was a first-team all C-USA selection for the second straight year.
CBS Sports lists Gaines as the 37th best cornerback prospect. His current projects as a 7th round pick or he could be signed as an undrafted free agent.