SAN RAMON, Calif. -- Justin Rice is no stranger to the recruiting process. This past cycle, his older brother – tight end Jared Rice -- signed with Fresno State. Now, things are starting to pick up for the Valley Section Player of the Year, who rushed for over 2,200 yards last season.
“I’ve had some contact with Washington State, and Fresno State a lot, because of my brother; they said they’re going to keep recruiting me,” said the 6-foot-2 prospect out of Modesto (Calif.) Central Catholic. “I learned you have to get your name out there early and just keep in contact. And, to like everyone, because you never know what’s going to happen. Let everyone come to you.”
The Cougars staff is going to come by this spring, as will the Bulldogs, to take a look at Rice, who’s got the size to play outside linebacker or safety at the next level, and showed a good nose for the ball on Sunday during the Kenion Training 7-on-7 Kickoff event at Dougherty Valley High School.
Fresno State, given the family connection, is coming hardest, and Rice said that it’s safe to say that the Bulldogs have a bit of an edge.
“Their new facilities are really nice,” Rice said. “Their locker room is crazy, and their new weight room. Their coaches are great. I already like the coaches, so that helps a lot.”
What do they like about Rice?
“They like my toughness,” Rice said. “That’s what Roger Canepa, our head coach at Central, preaches. They like how I can get out in the open field and show what I’ve got.”
Rice is a physical downhill runner, who says that he just runs “straight, and if someone gets in my way, I run them over.”
Rice plays corner and safety, as well as running back -- an odd combination, to be sure, but one that fits his unique skillset.
“When I play corner, I play with an attitude, so I like to bully some wide receivers out there,” said Rice, who revels in playing press coverage.