Former kicker Hairston joins Rice

James Hairston transferred to Rice. (Travis Spradling)

James Hairston transferred to Rice. (Travis Spradling)

Former LSU kickoff specialist James Hairston has transferred to Rice, the school announced with a statement Monday.

Hairston, a rising senior, was the primary handler of LSU’s kickoffs over the previous three seasons. He announced his departure  in March because he wants a shot at kicking field goals.

A graduate of LSU in finance, Hairston is eligible to play this season under NCAA rules. 

Hairston is a Dallas native, and he has an uncle who played football and baseball for Rice.

Hairston has kicked all of LSU’s kickoffs the last two seasons. He handled the kickoff duties in 11 of 14 games during his true freshman season in 2011. Forty-five of Hairston’s 86 kickoffs last season went for a touchbacks, and he had a 63-yard average.

Colby Delahoussaye, a freshman walk-on, won the job kicking field goals last season. He made 13 of 14 attempts.

Hairston’s absence leaves the kickoff job open to a group of players, including Delahoussaye, signee Cameron Gamble, sophomore Trent Dominque and redshirt freshman Alex Kjellsten.

Delahoussaye was listed as the starting kickoff man in LSU’s preseason depth chart, followed by Domingue.