Rice Athletics is honoring the three players who became the Owls’ first African-American football players as well as the player who served as their recruiting host by having current Owls wear those players’ numbers during the 2013 season.
Rodrigo Barnes, Mike Tyler and Stahle Vincent, along with their recruiting host, Bucky Allshouse, were recognized at halftime of the April 5 Blue-Gray Spring Game at Rice Stadium.
Barnes earned All SWC and All America honors as a defensive end and linebacker at Rice who went on to play four seasons in the NFL, including a Super Bowl championship with Oakland in 1976. Barnes began his career wearing No. 82 but wore No. 90 during his stellar senior year as a defensive end in 1971. Senior defensive end Cody Bauer will honor him by wearing 90 this fall.
Tyler and Barnes were rivals in high school while growing up in Waco, Texas, but they joined together to be defensive stalwarts at Rice. Tyler was the first of the three honorees to sign with Rice and went on to earn All SWC honors and was drafted by the Detroit Lions. Tyler was a three-year standout at defensive back while wearing No. 24, and senior defensive back Paul Porras will honor him with the same number.
Vincent became the first African-American quarterback to play in the Southwest Conference in 1969. He completed 51 percent of his passes and threw for 556 yards. He moved to running back in 1970 and ranks 14th on the Rice career chart with 1,675 yards while earning All SWC honors and being named Rice’s MVP in 1971. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Senior running back Charles Ross will change from 28 to 12 in Vincent’s honor this year.
Allshouse was an All SWC selection as a defensive back and won the George Martin award as the Owls’ MVP in 1970 before going into a career in law and serving on the Rice Board of Trustees. He wore No. 40 during his three years as defensive back; junior safety Gabe Baker will change from 27 to 40 in Allshouse’s honor.
Rice head coach David Bailiff began the “honor jersey” tradition in 2012 when Turner Petersen and Cameron Nwosu changed their numbers to honor King Hill and O.J. Brigance. Both players have elected to wear those honor numbers as seniors this year.
All four players will be honored again this fall during a Rice home game.