"Really it was just from day one walking on the campus it just blew my socks off," the 6-5, 245 Rice tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It's just the kind of college I want to go to. It's close to home. I' have a lot of friends that go to Auburn. They are a big-time school and it's the SEC. That's what I want to play for. It just fit me like a glove. There is no reason to wait around. Auburn is where I want to play. I want to wear that AU on my helmet.
"Talking to Coach Malzahn before the camp in the summer I went to his office and he treated me like family," he adds. "Coach Horton has always been there for me. Every time I call him he answers on the first call and that really means a lot. Coach Fountain is a great guy and he's going to be my position coach at tight end. They all know what they're talking about and they're getting some big-time recruits. I just feel in the upcoming years there are going to be some big things for Auburn like SEC Championships and national championships. I feel like everything is on the rise for Auburn."
Something else that made Auburn a good fit for Rice was that he'll have his brother along for the ride. A senior quarterback at Darlington that is also a punter, Logan Rice will be a preferred walk-on for Auburn in the fall of 2014 as a punter. His younger brother notes that just pushed the Tigers over the top for him.
"To get the chance to play with him again that's just big right there," Rice says. "Being down there with family is a whole other story."
A standout in Georgia, Rice says the impact of 2015 Auburn quarterback commitment Tyler Queen is big for him as well. An athlete that could play tight end or defensive end on the next level, Rice notes that Queen is someone he believes will be a great fit for Auburn's offense and carry the program to big things.
"That's big because when I went down for a practice late in the summer we were just sitting around talking and that was the first time I ever met him," Rice says. "We were just sitting around and looking at some of the plays and you could tell he really knew what he was talking about. When I got home I looked at his highlights and he's a baller on the field. He's going to grow more and I'm going to grow more. He's a pro-style quarterback that is going to throw the ball to the tight end and he can also run it. He's very versatile.
That's big for him to go ahead and commit," he adds. "When I talked to him it was the same story as me. He said there was no reason to wait around because he wants to play for Auburn. That's the same for me. There was no reason to wait around. I want to be the face of the 2016 class as the first commitment and get some other guys in there for us in our class. I have a lot of connections so we can get some Georgia boys down there. I just wanted to go ahead and make it official."
Choosing Auburn over Cincinnati and also hearing heavily from Notre Dame, USC, Oregon, UCLA, Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama and others, Rice says that he's just happy to have the decision behind him so he can concentrate on his future at Auburn.
"It feels real good to go ahead and commit," Rice says. "I already have a good relationship, but just to build a stronger relationship with everybody is big for me. I want to go ahead and start working with their workout plan to get myself ready for Saturdays so we can win big games. I'm going to get myself ready for SEC football."