Pack is Strong With Alabama LB

Pack Pride talks with Alabama linebacker Hans Rice about the emergence of NC State as one of his top schools.

It’s been a while since NC State landed a player from the state of Alabama but the Wolfpack coaching staff will be hoping to change that in the class of 2009. The Pack has offered and emerged as a serious contender for LB Hans Rice from Eufaula (Al) High School

At 6-3, 200 pounds and boasting 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Rice tallied 87 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions as a junior. Despite his effectiveness on defense, Rice will see serious minutes in 2008 at wide receiver. While many players would jump at the chance to line up on offense, Rice said defense is his first love.

“I used to play wide receiver a long time ago but I moved over to defense and I just like hitting people,” said Rice. “I mean, I can go back to my old ways and play receiver but defense is still my favorite. I think my hitting ability and speed are my strong points. I’m faster than most linebackers.”

Several schools apparently agree as the rising senior has landed early scholarship offers including Central Florida, NC State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, UAB and South Alabama.

The Wolfpack’s efforts are being led by linebacker coach Andy McCollum and he has clearly helped establish State as a major player for Rice’s commitment.

“I’ve been hearing some good things about NC State from coach McCollum who is also the linebacker’s coach,” said Rice. “We’ve developed a strong relationship and he has been telling me about the program and I’m very interested in the academics that they have.

“I like coach McCollum because he is real laid-back and he’s got that southern style to him. He’s just a guy that you never feel out of place with.”

Rice has yet to visit NC State but he plans to in the very near future. In fact, it’ll be a very busy summer as he plans to see several of the schools on his list over the next couple of months.

“I’m expecting an offer from Memphis next week so I’m going up to visit them and Vanderbilt. I’m starting to get a lot of interest from Florida so I’m going to visit Florida and Central Florida next week. I’m also planning to visit Ole Miss and NC State after that.”

Rice says that Vanderbilt, NC State and Central Florida are currently recruiting him the hardest so it comes as no surprise that those schools comprise three of his top four.

“Right now my top four would be Central Florida, NC State, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss in no particular order,” he said.

Rice added that if his visits go well over the summer, he’s hoping to put an early end to his recruiting.

“My commitment status depends on my visits this summer,” he said. “If my visits go real well then I might commit this summer. Otherwise, I may just continue to look at some schools.”

Rice plans to major in Sports Medicine or Chemical Engineering.

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