Rafael Rice - RB - 5-11, 195, 4.49/40 - Santa Ana, California (Mater Dei) - Mater Dei is a school that lives as one of the premier football programs in the country. In fact, Mater Dei is about the only team that has come close to beating the unbeatable, Concord De LaSalle, just losing to them two years ago, 31-28. It's a traditional power amongst nationally prominent high school teams and a team, Rafael Rice calls home.
Though last season wasn't kind to Mater Dei initially, the season ended up promising as the Monarchs marched all the way to the CIF league semi-finals. Rafael Rice was one of the keys that got them to that point. Rushing for 1278 yards and 20 touchdowns, Rice and company brought back the Monarchs to a very respectable finish.
You can imagine that a school so prominent in the landscape of high school football would be habitual stop for all colleges looking through their collection of standout players. And you would be correct in assuming that Rafael isn't the only member of the Monarchs that is receiving a ton of recruiting attention, but for now, Rice will do.
Described as "elusive", "shifty" and even "dominant", Rice has his own take on what he does best. "Right now, my ability to run between the tackles has seen a major improvement" Rice stated. Add to that his own description of his aforementioned elusiveness. "I like to make them miss" Rice stated. "If I'm one on one with a guy, you just get as close as you can and then, make your move."
As for moves, Rice has made one, at least in the peripatetic sense, to Nebraska for his one and only camp and though NU certainly takes it's place on his list, you can add some other teams to the mix as well. USC, Washington, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State also find themselves on Rice's early list of favorites. As for when visits to any of these schools might take place, Rice isn't in a hurry. "I just want to go to a place I am happy with." Rice stated. "If I feel comfortable there, get along with the coaches and it just feels like home, that's where I want to be."
Elusive on the field, but not elusive off, Rice will be a target for many schools this up-coming season. Just a recent transfer to Mater Dei from a season prior, his last year was his testing year, this year, his time to shine. For those deciding to turn around and take a look at this California standout, they might want to look twice or else, they might just miss this one.