The Rice Owls featured one of their more suffocating defenses in recent history last season. The unit finished top 40 in limiting both the ground and air attack, allowed under 19 points per game, and held a nationally ranked, undefeated Marshall scoreless team in a signature victory.
However, the centerpiece of that Owl defense will be suiting up in SEC country in 2021. Senior outside linebacker Blaze Alldredge announced his entrance into the transfer portal on Jan. 16, planning to utilize the extra year of eligibility granted to all fall athletes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three days after entering the portal, he tweeted that he will commit to Missouri and play for Coach Eli Drinkwitz and the Tigers.
Id like to thank the coaches & fans that have reached out to me since I’ve entered the transfer portal. At this time though I am ecstatic to announce that I have received an offer and will be committing to play for the Mizzou Tigers Let’s go! @CoachDrinkwitz @CoachDjSmith #NewZou pic.twitter.com/mdFNKRipEA— Blaze Achille Alldredge (@blazeachille) January 18, 2021
Alldredge was a force at Rice, garnering two First Team All-C-USA selections in his final two seasons with the Owls. He emerged as one of the premier defensive players in the conference in 2019 when he led the league with 10.5 tackles per game. Overall, Alldredge’s stat-stuffing rampage in 2019 included 102 tackles, 4.0 sacks, and 21.5 tackles for loss — the second highest mark in the FBS.
Alldredge followed up his tremendous junior campaign with 9.4 tackles per game, an interception, and C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors in an abbreviated, 5-game 2020 showing. He leaves Rice as a starter for roughly two and a half seasons, experiencing a meteoric rise from an under-the-radar JUCO prospect who nearly quit football to a linebacker receiving attention on every major preseason watchlist.
The team captain and renowned film room junkie will provide veteran leadership to Missouri’s defense, which must replace a departing All-American outside linebacker in Nick Bolton.
As for Rice, the Owls could experience major turnover in the linebacking department. Following Alldredge’s transfer, two seniors also are faced with decisions regarding their futures. Inside linebackers Antonio Montero and Garrett Grammer are granted an additional senior season due to the pandemic, but neither linebacker has opted in or out of next year. That leaves edge rusher Kenneth Orji and linebacker/safety hybrid Treshawn Chamberlain as the veteran leaders in the heart of Rice’s 2021 defense.
Alldredge will be sorely missed in Houston, but his contributions as one of the best Rice players of the millennium will be remembered on campus for years to come.