Ransom-Goelz finds his fit on and off the field
“First few game challenges? Just finding where I fit, really.”
Freshman wide receiver Landon Ransom-Goelz became the first true freshman Owl since 2006 to be named a starter for September’s season opener against No. 7 University of Texas at Austin in front of 98,000 people.
“I had some butterflies going,” Ransom-Goelz said. “First college game and playing a ranked opponent. It was definitely eye-opening.”
Despite being a true freshman, Ransom-Goelz has played a big role in Rice’s offense with 297 receiving yards, the fourth-most on the team. Ransom-Goelz also has the second most receiving touchdowns with three, including a go-ahead 44-yard touchdown catch in late September’s matchup against Eastern Carolina University.
In addition to sticking out on the field as a freshman, Ransom-Goelz was among the first cohort of Rice freshmen that enrolled in the spring semester prior to their first season, something that had never been done before at Rice.
“Rice wasn’t really big on [enrolling a semester early],” Ransom-Goelz said. “They never had anyone come in early before. Then one day, [head coach Mike Bloomgren] called me and said that they were going to let in five people, so I was one of those five so that was great. I feel like that acclimated me great to coming in and playing how I’m playing right now.”
As with any college athlete, there was a big transition in the quality heading into college football, especially with the physicality and speed at which the game moves.
“It’s been a big transition,” Ransom-Goelz said. “The game moves a lot faster, everyone’s moving a lot faster. You’ve got the most athletic of the athletic around you, so the difference in game speed from high school and college is just night and day.”
In addition to being just one of four incoming freshmen on the football team, he was also faced with a tougher academic environment, taking university classes at a time when he would have still been a senior in high school.
Despite being in a new environment, Ransom-Goelz was able to find his place among both his teammates and classmates.
“The people I have around me [are helping me find my fit],” Ransom-Goelz said. “Luke McCaffrey is a great guy, integrating me with the team as another wide receiver. On the student side, the [suitemates] I had really showed me how the culture is at Rice, especially with me getting to experience Beer Bike and things like that.”
As a resident of Will Rice College, Ransom-Goelz was able to not just learn from others around him, but also participate in many college activities, integrating himself into the community.
“I’ll definitely say that the suitemates I had, those six guys that were already there, the sophomores, they definitely got me well acclimated,” Ransom-Goelz said. “I like the residential college system, it kind of gives everybody a home, it doesn’t exclude anybody. I’ll say last semester I was very, very involved in my residential college, just going to KITQs and stuff like that.”
Being on campus a semester earlier than most also paid dividends for Ransom-Goelz on the football field and in the locker room.
“I feel like [enrolling early] gave me a little boost coming in how I did,” Ransom-Goelz said. “It got me into more of a schedule, being more in a routine of things; I know what to expect. When the freshmen came in, they’re swimming in deep water when they first got here, so I feel like I was acclimated well and I was able to help those freshmen that came in in the summer, and I feel like that helped us out a lot, especially as a group.”
Specifically, Ransom-Goelz’s extra semester as an Owl gave him the opportunity to learn from more experienced players and pass it on to newcomers.
“[McCaffrey] has been a great guy for [film], especially early in the season, telling me what to look for, things he looks for personally,” Ransom-Goelz said. “I think I might be doing the same thing with the new freshmen that come in and even my freshman class that [hasn’t gotten to play as much].”
While finding his role in both the football team and in the larger Rice community, he maintains that he’s continuously looking for opportunities to learn and be able to take that to others in the future.
“Being a constant learner is one of the best traits you can have as a person, not even just in football, but in life,” Ransom-Goelz said.
Although he is still transitioning to college football and learning from others about the many nuances of the game at this level, Ransom-Goelz is a mentor back home.
“[My little sister plays football] and wants to play wide receiver just like me so I give her tips and things like that, always playing catch in the front yard,” Ransom-Goelz said. “Being that mentor that she looks up to is really encouraging for me.”
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