"Our team is devastated by this news," Rice coach Mike Bloomgren said. "All of my thoughts right now are how best to help Blain's family and his teammates in this very difficult period."
No cause of death has been given.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Padgett, a junior from Sour Lake, Texas, had 3.5 career sacks with the Owls while leading the defensive line with 41 tackles in 2016. He made the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll in 2016 and '17.
"Our entire athletic department is in mourning over the loss of Blain Padgett," athletic director Joe Karlgaard said. "Blain was a great friend and teammate, and the sense of loss is overwhelming to his teammates, his friends, but most importantly to his family, who are in our thoughts and prayers. We will do everything in our power to provide assistance to our student-athletes in this incredibly difficult time."
On Sunday, the school announced that it is pushing back the start of spring practice in the wake of Padgett's death.
"Football is secondary to dealing with the loss of a teammate and friend, and our sole concern right now is supporting them in this difficult time," Bloomgren said.
Rice said the updated spring schedule will be released at a later date.