Fresno State's 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes continues to show a lot of promise, perhaps nowhere more so than at the running back position - which is why the Bulldogs moved one of them to defense. Six-foot-two athlete Justin Rice was a do-it-all athlete on offense out of Modesto, but with the promise of redshirt freshmen Deonte Perry and Saevion Johnson, as well as incoming freshmen Ronnie Rivers and Jordan Mims, Rice is transitioning to safety.
"There's just a lot of running back talent coming in," Rice said. "They felt we needed some help at safety, or some more depth at least. They felt that I fit the mold so I just kind of got moved."
Scout.com ranked Rice as a three-star recruit based on his versatility on offense. However, Rice believes that his background will help him make him equally dangerous on defense.
"I just had to get acquainted real quick to backpedalling and making plays on the ball," Rice said. "The coaches definitely did a great job working me into it... It's a lot easier playing defense and safety after seeing thing going on on offense. You've got to think like an offense when you're playing defense - that's what Coach (Steinauer) always says. It's a lot easier when you come from offense to defense. It's a lot easier reading your keys."
With Rice now at safety, that means that he could see himself lined up against all 6-foot-5 of his older brother Justin at tight end. The two are yet to collide, Rice said.
"I'm waiting for it," Rice said. "I haven't been able to yet, but I'm waiting for."