With all of the stories involving players getting suspended, coaches getting fired, and the overall turmoil of college football, it is nice to get a feel good story from a former player.
Former Rice Owls player Sam McGuffie was named yesterday as one of the 15 men on the 2015-2016 USA Bobsled National Team. The USA bobsled team is a winter sports team that has been successful in poaching athletes from other sports for their program.
Former NFL players Hershel Walker (1992) and Willie Gault (1988) competed in the Winter Olympic Games.
Of the 15 roster spots, six are rookies that were former college or professional athletes. Fellow former college football players Hakeem Abdul-Saboor (Virginia) and Nathan Gilsleider (Oklahoma State) join McGuffie on the team.
McGuffie, as many remember, did not start his career at Rice. The Cypress, Texas native and 4-star recruit decided to go far from home and play at Big Ten program Michigan. A combination of wanting to be closer to home and three concussions suffered during his freshman season resulted in him leaving the program.
Picking a program close to home, McGuffie chose to become a Rice Owl.
After sitting out the 2009 season due to transfer rules, McGuffie finished third in C-USA and 65th in the country with 73.6 yards per game rushing, 10th in C-USA and 85th in the country in all-purpose yards. He finished the season with 883 yards rushing and 39 catches for 384 yards receiving.
McGuffie struggled during his second year at Rice, missing significant time due to injuries. He made the move to receiver for his senior season, leading the team with five touchdown catches. He ended the season with 54 catches for 603 yards.
After spending time with Oakland, Arizona, and New England, McGuffie spent some time in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He was released in April of 2015.
Not even six months after ending his football career, McGuffie has found a new passion: bobsledding. In being named to the 15 member roster, he will start the World Cup bobsled season with either a trip to Calgary, Canada or Altenbery, Germany as the roster is split among the two venues.
Being named to the bobsled team now means that McGuffie and company can start preparing a chance to make the PyeongChang, South Korea 2018 Winter Olympics, as well as yearly World Championships.
If he were to make the 2018 Olympic team, McGuffie would be the 12th Rice Owl to do so. He would be the first winter Olympian with the university and the first since the Athens games of 2004.