On Saturday afternoon, the Texas Longhorns will face the Rice Owls on a football field for the 97th time. Texas decisively leads the all-time series between the schools with a record of 74-21-1, and has won each of the past 15 meetings.
Rice, which is located in Houston, was founded as the Rice Institute in 1912 (it officially became Rice University in 1960) and fielded its first varsity football team that same year, though it was not until 1914 that it played a schedule solely consisting of collegiate opponents. Texas and Rice played for the first time in 1914, at which point UT had been playing football for two full decades. Texas won that first matchup with Rice 41-0, and the two schools played each other in every successive year until 1996, the year after the dissolution of the Southwest Conference, of which Texas and Rice had both been charter members in 1915. Texas won its first three matchups with Rice by a combined score of 116-2, then Rice emerged victorious over UT for the first time in 1917 by a 13-0 score.
From 1930 until 1965, Texas-Rice was a very evenly-matched rivalry. In 36 games played during that period Texas had 17 wins, 18 losses, and one tie against the Owls. But that rivalry became a very one-sided one afterwards, with the Longhorns winning 43 of the 44 games they’ve played since 1965.
There is a lot of shared history between the two schools and their football programs, but little of note has been added to that history over the past three decades with the two schools no longer being conference opponents since 1995. And with Texas playing in the Big 12 Conference and Rice competing in the Western Athletic Conference and Conference USA following the end of the Southwest Conference, the gap in the general quality of their respective conference opponents and the gap in the overall talent level of the players they’ve recruited has risen substantially compared with where it was even in the SWC’s final years.
So not only do Texas and Rice compete on the gridiron a lot less frequently these days, off the field their coaching staffs are very rarely in serious pursuit of the same recruits. One would be hard-pressed to name a player in recent memory who signed with Rice after receiving a scholarship offer with Texas, and the only Rice players who Texas has courted to a significant degree of late have been graduate transfers with a proven college track record.
Calvin Anderson started on the offensive line for three seasons at Rice before transferring to Texas as a graduate transfer in 2018. He is the most recent of at least six instances of players who’ve worn football uniforms at both Rice and Texas, the first of whom preceded Anderson by almost a full century. Anderson is also perhaps the only living such example, as the most recent one previous to him that I’ve found played for the Longhorns during World War II.
Since obscure Longhorn history is mainly what I do around here, the rest of this post will give a historic rundown (with mini biographies) of Anderson and five other football players known to have spent time at both Texas and Rice. I won’t promise that it’s an exhaustive list, but these are all of the examples I could find.
Athletes who played football at both Rice and the University of Texas
George Maverick Green
George Green was born in 1898 and was a San Antonio native descended from two prominent families of that city. His father, Robert Berrien Green, was elected to three terms as Bexar County Judge and was a state senator at the time of his death in 1907. His mother, the former Mary Rowena Maverick, was a granddaughter of San Antonio pioneer Samuel Augustus Maverick, and a very notable figure in San Antonio in her own right. (Samuel Maverick’s last name was literally the origin of the noun “maverick” that Merriam-Webster defines as “an unbranded range animal” and “an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party”. This was supposedly inspired by Samuel Maverick’s refusal to brand a herd of cattle that he had owned in the 1840s.)
George Green played football while he was a student at San Antonio High School, then after graduation he began his college career at Rice Institute, which had opened only a few years earlier. He joined the football team at Rice and was the Owls’ regular starter at left tackle in the 1917 season, one in which the team had a record of 7-1, defeated Texas for the first time, and suffered their only loss by a 10-0 score to a Texas A&M team that won all eight of its games that year without allowing a point. He served in the military during World War I, and afterwards enrolled at the University of Texas. Green, who was listed at 6 feet and 175 pounds, won letters playing tackle for the Longhorn teams of 1919 and 1920. He was by then at least the fourth member of his extended family to suit up for a UT football team; his uncle George Vance Maverick had been a 1902 letterman, and two of his mother’s cousins, John Frost Maverick and Lewis Maverick, had played on some of the earliest UT varsity squads in the 1890s.
Green graduated from Texas with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1921, and in his professional career was a teacher and lawyer.
Hulsey was born in 1899 and was a native of Fannin County in north Texas. Fannin County’s population is only about 35,000 today, but as recently as 1900 it had over 50,000 residents and was one of the ten most populous counties in the state, and it produced several UT football notables in the first decade or so of the program’s existence.
Hulsey’s family lived in Ladonia, a small community in the far southeast corner of Fannin County that had its own high school at the time, but he instead attended high school over 20 miles away in Bonham, as many students from the county’s outlying communities did at that time. He was one of 39 graduates in Bonham High’s class of 1917. He enrolled at Rice later that year and was a teammate of George Green’s as a freshman on the 1917 Rice football team but did not get enough playing time to earn a letter. He left Rice to serve in the military during World War I, and spent part of the summer of 1918 at the Reserve Officer’s Training School in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. After the war he enrolled at Texas and joined the football team there. He started a number of games at left guard for a dominating 1920 Longhorn team that went undefeated while outscoring its nine opponents 282-13. Hulsey enrolled at the UT medical school in Galveston the following year and did not play football again. He received his M.D. a few years later and was a practicing physician and a noted allergy specialist in Fort Worth well into his 80s. Dr. Hulsey ranks high among the longest-lived of UT’s historic football lettermen; he died in 1999 at the age of 100.
Ed Bluestein was a native of Port Arthur, where his family ran a successful department store for many years. After graduating from Beaumont High School he began his college career at Rice, where he played on the freshmen football team in 1917 and almost certainly was acquainted with the aforementioned George Green and Simeon Hulsey. He served in the Navy during the final year of World War I, and after his discharge he enrolled at Texas in 1919. He was a reserve on the Longhorn football team for two years before winning his first varsity letter in 1922. Then as a senior in 1923 he was elected team captain and made the All-Southwest Conference team at tackle.
After graduating from UT in 1924 he served for a season as the football team’s line coach, then had a long career as a civil engineer with the Texas Highway Department, and he is the namesake of Ed Bluestein Boulevard in Austin. He was inducted into the University of Texas Athletics Hall of Honor in 1979.
Henry Lewis Hook
Henry Hook had a winding collegiate career that was not uncommon for young men of his generation and age group. He was an all-state tackle as a senior at Houston’s Reagan High School (now Heights) in 1942, then enrolled at Texas A&M in January of 1943. He enlisted in the Navy and joined its World War II-era V-12 officer training program, but because A&M was not a host campus for the V-12 program he had to transfer to a different school, and he chose Rice out of the available options. The NCAA’s longstanding rules prohibiting first-year students from playing on varsity teams were briefly waived during the World War II years, and as an 18-year-old freshman in 1943 Hook started games for Rice at both tackle and guard. He was 6 feet tall and listed at 190 pounds on his draft card, which was not an abnormally small size for a college lineman in that era.
In the spring of 1944 he was transferred again, this time from Rice to Texas, and he resumed his football career at his new school. He was a starter for the 1944 Longhorn squad, playing different games at right guard and right tackle. He was away from football during the 1945 season due to his service in the Navy, and after the end of World War II he returned to Texas A&M, his original college. He was a member of A&M’s football team in 1946 and 1947 but was not awarded a letter in either season. He graduated from A&M with a mechanical engineering degree and spent over five decades as a civilian employee of the Department of Defense.
Like Henry Hook, Fred Brechtel had multiple stops in his college career within a short time frame for reasons unique to the World War II years. A native of New Orleans, Brechtel attended Warren Easton High School (the alma mater of current Longhorn wide receiver Casey Cain) and originally enrolled at Rice after his high school graduation. He was a member of Rice’s football team early in the 1944 season, but during that season he was transferred by the Navy to Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and he played on Southwestern’s team that won the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Day 1945 by a 35-0 score over a team from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the first time an NCAA bowl game involved a team from Mexico.
Later in 1945 he was transferred from Southwestern to Texas, and he played fullback on the 1945 Longhorn team that went 10-1 (its only loss was a 7-6 defeat in early November to Rice) and beat Missouri 40-27 in the Cotton Bowl to end the season. After serving in the Navy he finished his college studies at LSU, from which he graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science in Geology.
Anderson, who I mentioned earlier in the post, spent his first three years of high school in Georgetown, where he was a teammate of future Texas A&M quarterback Jake Hubenak. As a junior, he started on the offensive line for Georgetown’s 2012 team that went 15-1 and reached the Class 4A Division I state championship game before losing to a Denton Guyer team led by future Longhorn QB/WR Jerrod Heard. He then transferred to Austin Westlake for his senior year, and 247Sports graded him as a two-star offensive tackle prospect in the 2014 recruiting class with a listed size of 6’5” and 240 pounds. After redshirting in his first year at Rice he became the Owls’ starting left tackle in 2015, and he held that spot for three seasons, making the All-Conference USA honorable mention team as a sophomore and junior.
He graduated after the 2017 season and elected to spend his last season of eligibility at another school as a graduate transfer, and he eventually committed to Texas over several power 5 programs that pursued him. He started every game at left tackle for the Longhorns in 2018 and was an All-Big 12 honorable mention pick. That team compiled a 10-4 record and defeated Georgia in the 2019 Sugar Bowl. After going undrafted in 2019 he signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent, but after being waived a pair of times he ended up with the Denver Broncos and was on that team’s active roster for much of 2019. He remained with the Broncos for three more seasons and appeared in 41 games with 12 starts between 2020 and 2022. He signed with the Patriots in free agency, and after an unspecified but serious illness landed him on the non-football illness list in late July, he was activated earlier this week and made the Patriots’ 53-man active roster going into the start of the 2023 NFL season, which will be Anderson’s fifth as a pro.