It’s a unique matchup of in-state rivals when Texas State faces off against Rice in the First Responder Bowl. With two and a half hours separating the schools, the First Responder Bowl marks only the fourth time these schools have played each other, and the first time since 1987.
When Texas State and Rice battle, are there expected to be any players missing in action through opt-outs or the transfer portal?
Top Texas State, Rice Players Not Playing the First Responder Bowl
Thanks to the College Football Network Bowl Game Opt-Out Tracker, we know just who is set to sit out the contest between Texas State and Rice easily enough.
For the full game preview and prediction: First Responder Bowl Prediction: Texas State vs. Rice Odds, Spread, DFS Picks, and More
Texas State Players To Miss the First Responder Bowl
Hit relatively hard by the portal last offseason, head coach G.J. Kinne did a great job of retaining his top players in the portal ahead of the First Responder Bowl. That stands as quite a feat, given the success of the Bobcats in 2023.
The most notable player missing from this contest will be RB Calvin Hill. Though Hill took a backseat to Ismail Mahdi this year, his play over the past few seasons for the Bobcats was nothing short of special. He’s entered the portal looking for another home after rushing for 1,709 yards in his Texas State career.
On defense, Texas State will have to play on without Ronnie Hamrick II at nickel. With nine appearances and 21 total tackles to his credit in 2023, Hamrick was a valuable depth piece in the Bobcats secondary.
- Ronnie Hamrick II, CB (transfer portal)
- Graham Faloona, LB (transfer portal)
- Calvin Hill, RB (transfer portal)
- CJ Rogers, QB (transfer portal)
- Josh Berry, RB (transfer portal)
Rice Players To Miss the First Responder Bowl
While Texas State is set to be without a handful of players, the Rice Owls enter the First Responder Bowl as nearly a complete team. JT Daniels will not play again after medically retiring earlier in the season, but AJ Padgett showed in relief duty that he can lead this team well enough.
Jordan Dunbar is the only player in the portal from Rice at the time of the contest, and he didn’t record a single tackle on defense for the Owls in 2023. It’s a complete roster for the Owls in the First Responder Bowl, and don’t be surprised to see Daniels on the sidelines with a clipboard in hand, as he’s reportedly looking to get into coaching with his playing days over.
- Jordan Dunbar, CB (transfer portal)
- JT Daniels, QB (medically retired)