Converse (Texas) Judson defensive back Phillip Gaines has a lot of qualities that any school would love to have. As a cornerback he is big at 6-foot-0, 170 pounds. He is fast and has been clocked at sub-4.5 speed. He is also smart with a 3.7 GPA and fantastic test scores. Now, he is an Owl.
"I committed to Rice," Gaines said. "It happened on Dec. 26. I just went up on a visit I think on the 17th and I saw the campus and everything and it was a really nice place to be. It was small which was good and they were talking about me playing as a true freshman so that was good to hear. Education was probably the best in Texas and me and my family talked about it and decided."
Kansas State and Mississippi State were two of the other schools that were recruiting Gaines the hardest but location among other factors proved to be enough to keep him at Rice.
"Kansas State came on pretty strong," he said. "They were setting a visit later in the month and I didn't want to wait that long. The other school was Mississippi State. I took a visit this summer and I just think Houston was better for me than Starkville."
Now that Gaines has made his decision, he doesn't anticipate taking any other visits and is glad the decision is behind him.
"I'm committed to Rice," he said. "It was fun with all the coaches calling and everything but it was stressful trying to decided where you would spend the next four years of your life."
After a run to the Texas 5A state championship game last season, Gaines and his teammates came up short in 2008 with an early exit from the playoffs. However with around 50 tackles, two interceptions and 5 blocked kicks in eight games this season, Gaines certainly did his part.