Coastal Carolina

A former CCU cornerback has joined a fellow Chanticleer on the Cleveland Browns

Denzel Rice with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team that signed him in 2015 as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in four games for the Eagles in the 2015 season and last week signed with the Cleveland Browns.
Denzel Rice with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team that signed him in 2015 as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in four games for the Eagles in the 2015 season and last week signed with the Cleveland Browns. Twitter page

Denzel Rice has joined former Coastal Carolina teammate Matt Hazel on the Cleveland Browns.

Hazel signed with the Browns prior to the final game of the regular season and remains on the offseason 90-man team roster, and Rice was signed by Cleveland in the past week.

Rice, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback who played at CCU from 2011-2014, began the 2017 preseason with Houston and was waived by the Texans before the first regular season game on Sept. 2. Because he had an ankle injury he reverted to the team’s injured reserve after clearing waivers and reached an injury settlement on Sept. 9.

He then spent time in the second half of the season on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad.

Rice entered the league in 2015 as an undrafted free agent with Philadelphia and appeared in four games with the Eagles in 2015 and three with Houston in 2016, logging nine tackles.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., native is one of 10 cornerbacks on the Browns roster and faces a seemingly uphill battle to secure a 53-man roster spot. NFL teams will cut to 53 players by the start of the 2018 regular season.

The Browns signed Hazel off Indianapolis’ practice squad in December. He bounced back and forth from the Colts' active roster and practice squad for much of the season, in addition to being released. Hazel had one reception for 1 yard in three games with the Colts this season.

The 6-1, 200-pounder from North Augusta caught a CCU-ecord 183 passes from 2010-13. He has appeared in eight career NFL games, with one start in his time with Indianapolis (2017), Washington (2016), Buffalo (2016) and Miami (2014-15), which drafted him in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Baseball accolades

Coastal baseball players may not have received much love from Sun Belt Conference coaches, as none were selected to the preseason all-conference team, but showered some accolades on several Chants. named Jason Bilous the projected Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year. The junior righthander was additionally listed as the conference’s third-best pro prospect for the 2018 draft.

Left-handed pitcher Scott Kobos, a junior college transfer, ranks 15th on the D1Baseball list of top prospects in the Sun Belt for 2018.

Three Chanticleers were among the league’s top 10 prospects for the 2019 draft including sophomore pitcher Anthony Veneziano (third), sophomore second baseman Cory Wood (fourth) and redshirt sophomore outfielder Cameron Pearcey (10th).

Two CCU rookies were on the D1Baseball list of top 10 impact freshmen including pitcher Zach McCambley (second) and pitcher Shaddon Peavyhouse (sixth).

Coastal Carolina will open the 2018 season on Feb. 16 by hosting Virginia Tech at 4 p.m. as part of the 18th annual Brittain Resorts Baseball at the Beach. The four-day event will also feature Indiana, Oklahoma, South Alabama and Kansas State.

CCU women tee off

Reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Malene Krolboll Hansen begins her final semester of collegiate golf ranked 64th in the nation in Golfweek’s Sagarin Women’s Individual College rankings as the Coastal women’s golf team begins the spring season this week.

The very international Chants – featuring seven players from five countries – are coming off a fall in which they finished second in the Pinehurst Challenge while setting a 54-hole tournament program record with a 9-under 855, and finished outside the top six in their other three events while averaging 73.86 strokes per round.

Hansen won her second career individual title at a Kennesaw State event at Atlanta Athletic Club, and led the way averaging a 71.8 in the fall. Frantiska Lunackova averaged 74.63, Sena Ersoy averaged 74.81 and Marie Lunackova and Stephanie Henning both averaged 76.18 strokes per round.

The Chants are competing in the Florida State Women’s Match-Up Tournament at the Don Veller Seminole Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla., from Friday through Sunday.

Invitations were sent to six teams and those teams contacted a team of their choice to partner up with them at the tournament. The partners are Missouri/Coastal Carolina, Florida State/Texas A&M, South Carolina/Virginia, Columbia/Princeton, Notre Dame/Kentucky and Minnesota/Michigan State.

The tournament includes seven teams ranked among the top-50 in the latest GolfStat rankings, led by seventh-ranked South Carolina, No. 13 Michigan State and No. 16 Virginia. Coastal Carolina is ranked 75th entering the spring season.

Basketball recap

The CCU men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to four games with a 56-54 win over Texas State on Demario Beck’s basket with a second remaining in overtime, but ended its two-game road trip last weekend with an 87-80 loss at Texas-Arlington.

The four-game winning streak followed a six-game losing streak and the Chants are now 11-14 overall and 5-7 in the Sun Belt Conference.

Jaylen Shaw, Zac Cuthbertson and Artur Labinowicz all scored in double figures in both games, while Cuthbertson recorded a double-double against UT-Arlington with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

The Coastal women (11-12) continued a skid with a pair of losses that has now reached four games and has dropped the Chants to 5-7 in the conference despite some stellar individual efforts.

The team’s lone senior, point guard Jas Adams, became the 15th player in program history to surpass 1,000 points with efforts of 23 points in a 78-69 loss at Texas State and 24 points in a 65-63 loss at UTA.

Sophomore 6-4 center Naheria Hamilton recorded a pair of double-doubles with a combined 27 points and 26 rebounds in the two games, and sophomore guard D.J. Williams tied a career-high with 29 points and added 10 rebounds against Texas State.

The Chants hoops teams have just one game this week at home against Appalachian State on Saturday, with the women tipping off at 1 p.m. and the men scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The Appalachian State women (6-17) are 4-8 in the conference while the Mountaineers men (10-15) are tied with the Chants for sixth in the conference at 5-7.

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin