Rice leaves winning recipe as legacy

Reports surfaced Tuesday evening that the leading rusher in Rutgers' history, Junior RB Ray Rice, will forego his final season at Rutgers and enter the NFL draft.

Merely days after rushing into the history books (Rice zigged and zagged his way to the third highest rushing total in Bowl history [280 yards] in the International Bowl last Saturday, versus Ball State) Ray Rice has made a decision regarding his status as a collegiate athlete. Rice, only the 13th player in NCAA history to gain more than 2,000 yards in one season will throw his name into the pro ring and forego his final year of eligibility at Rutgers.

Rice will leave a winning legacy behind him, having participated in three bowl games during his three year career at Rutgers. Rutgers dropped the initial game, in the Insight Bowl, but secured victories in the Texas Bowl (2006) and International Bowl (2007).

As a true freshman Rice found himself buried on the depth chart initially, but the New Rochelle native's talents surfaced almost immediately. The two-time All-America honoree quickly secured the starting spot and immediately began sharing time in the backfield with former RU great Brian Leonard. After earning the starting nod at tail during preseason camp Rice would conclude his initial collegiate campaign with 1,120 yards, the most ever for a true freshman Scarlet Knight and the first RU RB to gain in excess of 1,000 yards in a season since 1994. Rice elevated his attempts and total output the following year, rushing for 1,794 yards during his true sophomore season, en route to establishing a new BIG EAST single-season record. That record, however, would fall as quickly as it was set as Rice obliterated his own mark in 2007, eclipsing 2,000 and finally finishing with 2,012 yards to go along with a whopping 25 TDs. Rice finished his career with 4,926 yards to go along with 50 touchdowns (49 rushing). Simultaneously, the former Empire State HS star has become the second-leading rusher in BIG EAST history and the all-time leading rusher in Rutgers' history.

Rice leaves a winning legacy behind him as his Scarlet Knights enjoyed reaching the postseason each of his three years. During his time, Rutgers won 26 games, a winning surge unprecedented in recent Rutgers history. The recipient of numerous awards and honors Rice made certain to save his best performance for last, setting a new single game rushing record in the International Bowl (280 yards), a game Rutgers won decisively.

"Playing three years at Rutgers has been the experience of a lifetime. It was amazing to help lead the program to three consecutive bowls and two bowl victories. The bond I have formed with my teammates and coaches is something I will cherish forever. I would like to give a special thanks to Coach Schiano for what he has done for me and my family. Also, to the fans of Rutgers, thank you for the tremendous support I have received during my career," stated Rice upon his announcement.

Rice is the first Rutgers player to depart early for the NFL draft during Coach Greg Schiano's tenure. Rice is projected as a second round draft pick in this year's NFL draft.

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