Rice University recruits star quarterback by sending a letter to his cat

It was a purr-fect strategy.


Aaron Sankin

Internet Culture

Published May 17, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 7:19 am CDT

Full disclosure: I am a Rice University alum. I graduated about ten years ago and, for most of my time at the school, the football team was known for being not so good.

Yet over the past decade, the Owls’ football program has improved immeasurably—even getting the team invited to a handful of bowl games—and much of that newfound success can be attributed to recruiting. So, when team officials decided they wanted to nab J.T. Granato, the star quarterback at Houston’s nearby Kinkaid High School, they pulled out all the stops and sent a letter to his cat.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the letter, which was penned by co-offensive coordinator Billy Lynch, read:

As you know we’re trying to convince J.T. Rice is the place for him. I know you’d like to keep him close so he can feed you and change the litter box. Please help us to get him to choose us. Paw me if you have any questions.

The tactic worked and Granato, who was reportedly being courted by the University of Houston, University of Maryland, and Wake Forest, gave a verbal commitment to Rice shortly thereafter.

Granato’s father then posted this picture to Twitter:

@JTGranato10 committed to Rice today. Rice closed the deal by sending JT’s cat a recruiting letter. Well done Owls pic.twitter.com/NBCqPX7PIG

— John Granato (@johngranato) May 16, 2014

College athletic programs around the country have stepped up their game in recent years and gotten increasingly creative with the content of their recruiting letters. Mississippi State University, for example, has been known to send out hand-drawn pictures of ?Cans of Swag.”

When ESPN asked Granato how his cat felt about all this, he replied, “She didn’t care. She doesn’t care about anything.”

Spoken like a true cat lover.

Photo by Johntex/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.5)

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*First Published: May 17, 2014, 12:20 pm CDT