Rice has lost starting DT Hosam Shahin for the season for personal reasons, and it seems unlikely he will return to the school.
Owls coach David Bailiff said Shahin is at home in Canada "with some personal problems he's dealing with right now." Bailiff also said Shahin is not expected to return to the team.
Shahin (6-feet-3, 290 pounds), was a first-time starter last season and responded with 45 tackles, five sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Consistency was an issue, as his production fell as the season progressed. Shahin missed spring drills in 2012 with a pectoral injury but was 100 percent last fall.
He and sophomore Christian Covington would've formed one of the best defensive interiors in Conference USA. Junior Stuart Mouchantaf is the likely replacement for Shahin; Mouchantaf had 12 tackles for the Owls last fall after transferring in from junior college.
Depth now becomes a big issue up front. True freshman Trey Martin, who had been signed to play guard, instead now will start his college career as a defensive tackle, and Bailiff said other players could change positions, too.