Western N.Y. athlete combines strength and speed

Raymell Rice is starting to garner a lot of attention


The state of New York is loaded with some very special talent in the Class of 2005, including Raymell Rice from New Rochelle (N.Y.) High School. Rice, a 5-foot-9 190-pound dynamo who does everything for the Class AA reigning state champions.

Blessed with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, amazingly quick feet, superior athleticism (36-inch vertical for example), and excellent strength (295-pound bench and 430 squat), Rice was Class AA first-team All-State, as well as the Class AA co-player of the year. On the season, he ran for 1,332 yards and 11 touchdowns, led the team with 208 yards receiving and five receiving touchdowns (on only eight catches), and kicked 30 extra points, part of his 129 points on offense.

And Rice knows how to play big in the big game, too. He was the offensive most valuable player for the first two games of New Rochelle's playoff season, and in the third he was named the the most valuable offensive back in a 32-6 victory over top-rated Webster-Schroeder at the Carrier Dome. In that game, all he did was run for 169 yards on 17 carries (9.8 average), catch a pass, punt once for 35 yards, make two tackles, return three punts, and kick two extra points. If Ray Rice was not on the map before the playoffs, he sure was after his dominating playoff performance.

On defense, Rice plays safety and is considered a vicious hitter. At the next level, he could be a safety, a cornerback, or a running back, but Rice says he wants to be a running back and thinks most schools will recruit him to play that position.

The home state Orangemen recently became the first school to offer Rice a scholarship, but many more schools are sure to follow. He says that North Carolina and he has a cousin that attends UNC, but he hasn't heard much from them. As it stands now, Rice has one school that stands out.

"Syracuse is my favorite right now," he said. And when asked if staying close to home is important, Rice added, "In a way it is. I would like to stay close to the area if I can so that my mother can watch me play."

Rice's mother, Janet, has been a major help in the recruiting process, according to Rice. "She has really helped me sort through all of this," he said.  "She has been my backbone."

Rice, who currently has a 2.9 grade point average, plans to attend the Nike camp at Penn State in May.

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