Rice lands two commitments in back-to-back days

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In the span of less than 15 hours, first-year head coach Mike Rhoades bolstered Rice’s recruiting class for both next year and the following one, securing a pair of verbal commitments.

On Friday night, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported that three-star power forward Marquez Letcher-Ellis, of Montverde Academy (Florida) became the third 2015 pledge. The following morning, Genesis Academy (Virginia) shooting guard Josh Hall, who is listed as the No. 67 overall recruit in Class of 2016, according to Rivals, also decided to commit to the Owls.

Letcher-Ellis, the 6-foot-7 forward, joins fellow three-star recruits Connor Cashaw and Marcus Evans. Letcher-Ellis had offers from Clemson, DePaul, USC. He also held an offer and even took an official visit to VCU, a school where Rhoades served as an assistant coach to Shaka Smart for five seasons. During the summer, Letcher-Ellis averaged 9.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 14 games for DC Premier in the Under Armour Association.

Hall becomes the first member of Rice’s Class of 2016. The 6-foot-6 wing held offers from Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Nebraska and Oklahoma State.

Rhoades took over the Rice program in March after the school parted ways with Ben Braun following a last place finish in Conference USA.