HOUSTON Senior Dylan Tozier was a normal Rice student.

The first three years was more of a standard college experience, says Tozier.

The senior from Tampa is a chemical engineering and math major and while he played tennis in high school the sport was never in his future plans.

I had played tournaments for a while through about sophomore year in high school and after that, I guess I just got kind of tired of playing in them, says Tozier. It became more of a hobby.

Last year, everything changed. Dylan was encouraged by several members of the Rice varsity team to try out and to his surprise, he actually made it.

I ve loved it, it s been great, says Tozier. It s not a dream come true but it s nice to have something that I ve done all my life kind of turn into something reasonable.

You could see it with each week, each month that he was catching up to the ball a little bit better, says Rice tennis coach Efe Ustundag. The transformation between August and April has been tremendous.

Now, he s gained a true appreciation of what it means to be a student-athlete.

You can t go to as many parties, you have to wake up early. I know I couldn t have done it for four years, says Tozier. I didn t want to look back and say to myself I could have done that .

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