TYLER RICE: A Small School Gem!

While most of the attention has been paid to the larger schools in the state, here is a standout from a smaller school that is among the elite in the state!

BOCA RATON – When you have the pleasure of traveling the state of Florida, you often come up with athletes who don't send a bunch a film to your doorstep or create a media frenzy with how many things they can accomplish.

Take Tyler Rice for example. This is an athlete, out of Boca Raton's St. Andrew's Academy, who most have never heard of. But I promise you this: By the end of the season, he will be as highly-recruited as any linebacker in the state of Florida.

What we uncovered on this trip to southern Palm Beach County was a football player, a giant 6-4, 239-pounder who can play this game at a very elite level. This is player, who many will now start paying attention to.

"Outside of Josh Giggy of 561sports.com, I was probably the only person in this state who had ever heard or watched Tyler play," said Larry Blustein, Publisher of www.floridakids.us. "From the moment I watched him run, get after quarterback on a blitz and drop back in pass coverage, I knew this was the real deal. Someone everyone should keep an eye on."

In Palm Beach County, people have been following the athletes at places like Palm Beach Lakes, Palm Beach Gardens, Pahokee and Glades Central. St. Andrew's, with the exception of a few players here and there, never gets the football recognition.

Rice, a linebacker, had over 120 tackles last season, one interception, which was returned for a touchdown and two fumble recoveries.

Coaches at St. Andrew's have called Rice a young Brian Urlacher. He is physically mature for a high school prospect. He is also impossible to block, the opposing coaches have called him a young Urlacher.

"What sets him apart from most of the players I've coached is his physical toughness," said Bond Millard, who has coached in Texas as well as in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. "Tyler knows how to shed blocks. With most kids you work with they have a downside, with Tyler I don't see much downside. The competition level is the only thing that can be held against him."

As far as college interest? "Duke has already offered and teams like Michigan have shown a ton of interest," Millard said. "I would not be surprised to see them offer real soon. FSU and UF have also shown interest as well."

Rice said his main goal was trying to help his team win next year and make a run deep into the playoffs.

"I want to go all the way this year," he said. "The better my team does than the recruitment will take care of itself. I hope that schools like UF, FSU, UM and Michigan recruit me."

THE TYLER RICE FILE:
CAMPS: Perfect Competition/www.floridakids.us in Davie Florida.
TOP SCHOOLS: Michigan, Iowa, Boston College, Duke, Washington, Florida State and UF.

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