The Gamecocks have featured several speedy wide receivers who have gone on to professional careers in recent years, but not since Sterling Sharpe (1983-87) and Robert Brooks (1988-91) has the school been able to boast such a big-play specialist like Rice. Even though he spent only two seasons with the Gamecocks, Rice made his mark in the school record books, including becoming the first player in the program's history to produce consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Among active Southeastern Conference players, Rice's two-year total of 2,233 yards receiving ranks third in the league, topped only by Dwayne Bowe of Louisiana State (2,403 yards on 154 catches, 2003-06) and Dallas Baker of Florida (2,236 yards on 151 catches, 2003-06), and it took those two players four years to accomplish their totals. Rice's 23 touchdown catches in 24 games rank second among the conference's active players, topped only by Marcus Monk of Arkansas (24 in 36 games, 2004-06).
Rice was regarded as the best receiver in the state of South Carolina during his senior year at Gaffney High School. He was named to the High School Sports Report Statewide All-State team and selected Offensive Player of the Year. He ended his career with 138 receptions for 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns.
In 2003, Rice caught 57 passes for 897 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. He had 38 catches for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns his junior campaign. He also excelled in basketball, earning 2002-03 Class 4A basketball Player of the Year after helping lead Gaffney to the state championship. That season, he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per game as the Indians finished the basketball season 28-0.
Rice was the last high profile recruit of the Lou Holtz era at South Carolina, choosing the Gamecoacks in 2004 over offers from Florida, Miami, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Syracuse. He spent his first season with the Gamecocks' scout team after suffering a hyper-extended left knee in warm-ups before the Georgia game.
Rice's collegiate debut was delayed one game in 2005 after he suffered a broken finger during August camp that would sideline him for the season opener vs. Central Florida. He got back on the field for the second game vs. Georgia and started the final 10 games. Rivals.com named Rice the National Freshman of the Year, as he led the team with 70 receptions for 1,143 yards (16.3 avg) and 13 touchdowns. He also posted four tackles (3 solos) and caused one fumble on special teams. His average of 103.91 yards per game receiving led the Southeastern Conference and ranked fifth nationally.
Rice followed up that banner rookie season with All-American recognition, as he again led the team and ranked third in the Southeastern Conference with an average of 5.54 catches per game. He paced the Gamecocks with 72 receptions for 1,090 yards (15.1 avg) and 10 touchdowns to become the school's first two-time 1,000-yard receiver. He also had a six-yard reverse that set up a touchdown drive.
In 24 games at South Carolina, Rice started 23 times. He finished his career with 142 catches for 2,233 yards (15.7 avg) and 23 touchdowns. He rushed once for six yards, attempted one pass, scored 138 points and recorded four tackles (3 solos) with a forced fumble.
Positives: Has a tall frame with adequate muscle development, long arms and legs...Has deceptive speed to get downfield, showing good body flexibility, good balance and body control to adjust to the ball in flight...Quick to find openings or come back for the ball, and has no trouble working in unison with the quarterback...Good crack blocker who will compete for the ball deep...Shows good quickness and a deceptive stride, where he can suddenly put on the second gear to eat up the defender's cushion... Doesn't have ideal strength to fight through a powerful jam, but when he is able to avoid it, he gets into his route quickly...It is evident that he has natural ball skills to adjust to the ball in flight and play it deep...Builds to top speed nicely with no wasted motions and takes long strides to compensate for a lack of blazing speed...Can run a lethargic defender off the line of scrimmage and plays the ball well with nice adjustment skills...Shows nice acceleration throughout his routes and has an array of moves to set up the defender...Will sometimes round up field routes, but has the body control to adjust and get under the thrown ball without having to break stride...Seems to be better on linear routes, as he can build his acceleration and make cuts to separate...Has the functional speed and decent burst to get deep and threaten, but needs to be more crisp adjusting on underneath routes...Plays with a very good feel for the ball in flight...Shows the ability to adjust and get in position to snatch the long ball over his outside shoulder without having to throttle down...Very good working the sidelines and keeping his feet in bounds...Does a good job of adjusting to deep coverage and can get open and settle on deep throws better than he can going over the middle...Has outstanding ball skills to adjust to the thrown ball, looking natural with his body control to get in position and make plays over his shoulder...Able to extend and pluck the ball outside his frame and while his concentration lapsed at times, he was very good at securing the ball and protecting it before heading up field...Has enough elusive moves to take a short crossing pass for a long distance, but needs to have room to operate in order to be successful...Has to be creative in his moves to compensate for some tight hips, but shows the vision to make the big play if he finds the crease.
Negatives: Has the leaping ability to compete for the ball in the air, but needs to do a better job of timing those leaps...Has some hip tightness, but still shows shifty moves on long routes (less in shorter routes)...Whether it is timing or an unwillingness, he will struggle to compete for the ball in a crowd and despite a 35-inch vertical jump and his 6-3 frame, defenders were able to deflect 17 passes out of his hands in 2006 and he failed to run under 23 other throws...Will need to add more bulk and strength in order to beat the press at the next level...Has the size and vertical jump to go up and make the catch over the middle, but you sometimes wonder if he has the strength to take a pounding there...Needs to improve on short routes, as like most tall receivers he struggles to drop his weight and gain separation...Going over the middle, he looks affected by close coverage at times and seems to be too aware of traffic.
Compares To: DEMETRIUS WILLIAMS-Baltimore...Rice has excellent hands, catching almost every ball thrown to him. He has deceptive speed and fine leaping ability, but lacks the bulk to compete for the ball in a crowd. He can turn a short crossing pass into a big gain if he spots the crease, and does a good job securing the ball before turning up field. He needs route refinement and has some tightness in his hips, but working down the sidelines, he will make the plays deep in the opponent's secondary.
Rice became the first player in school history to gain more than 1,000 yards in two seasons...His 142 receptions rank sixth in school annals, topped by Sterling Sharpe (169 catches, 1983, 1985-87), Zola Davis (164, 1995-98), Robert Brooks (156, 1988-91), Jermale Kelly (153, 1997-2000) and Fred Zeigler (146, 1967-69)...His 2,233 yards receiving are surpassed only by Sharpe (2,497 yards) and Davis (2,354) on South Carolina's all-time record list...Despite playing only two seasons, Rice's 23 touchdown catches broke the old school career record of 19, first set by Brooks (1988-91) and matched by Kelly...His average of 15.7 yards per reception rank ninth in Gamecocks annals...Gained more than 100 yards receiving in 11 games, breaking the old school all-time record of 10 by Sharpe (1983, 1985-87)...Rice gained 1,143 yards receiving in 2005, breaking the previous South Carolina single-season record of 1,106 yards by Sharpe in 1986...His 1,090 yards receiving in 2006 rank third on the school's all-time list...His 70 receptions in 2005 rank third and his 72 grabs in 2006 rank second on the school's single-season record chart, topped only by Sharpe's 74 catches in 1986...Holds the SC single-season record with 13 touchdown catches, and his 10 scoring grabs in 2006 rank second, tied with Sharpe (1986), Monty Means (1995) and Kelly (1997)...Rice's six 100-yard receiving games in 2005 broke the school single-season record, and his five 100-yard efforts in 2006 tied Sharpe (1987) and Troy Williamson (2004) for second on that same list...Rice's 191 yards vs. Missouri in the 2005 Independence Bowl rank fourth on the school single-game record list behind Troy Williamson (210 vs. South Florida, 9/18/04), Davis (206 vs. Vanderbilt, 10/24/98) and Zeigler (199 vs. Virginia, 11/2/68)...Rice caught 12 passes in that 2005 Independence Bowl. Only Davis (14 vs. Vanderbilt in 1998) had more catches in a game for the Gamecocks...His five touchdown catches vs. Florida Atlantic in 2006 set a school game-record, breaking the old mark of three that was set by several players, most recently by Rice vs. Vanderbilt (10/22/05)...Caught at least one pass in every game (24) that he played in...Rice and Kenny McKinley combined for 1,970 yards receiving, the most by a receiving duo in school history and one of the top tandems in the country in 2006.
All-American third-team and All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report...Ranked 22nd in the nation and third in the SEC with an average of 5.54 receptions per game...Finished 17th nationally and fourth in the conference with 83.85 yards receiving per game...Started every game at split end, leading the team for the second-straight year with a career-high 72 receptions for 1,090 yards (15.1 avg) and 10 touchdowns...Also rushed once for 6 yards and attempted one pass...Of the 112 passes targeted to Rice, 17 were deflected by the opposition...56 of his 72 catches produced first downs, as Rice converted 9-of-18 third-down plays and 2-of-4 on fourth-down action...Had 17 receptions for 20 yards or longer...registered big plays that set up sixteen touchdown drives and two other series that resulted in field goals...Caught 7-of-9 passes thrown to him inside the red zone.
All-American third-team choice by The NFL Draft Report...Named National Freshman of the Year by Rivals.com...Earned Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team and Freshman of the Week honors vs. Vanderbilt and Tennessee...Was also a consensus All-SEC first-team pick (all classes)...Suffered a broken left little finger the last week of August camp, undergoing surgery. The injury forced him to sit out the season opener vs. Central Florida...Returned as a reserve the next week vs. Georgia, but then went on to start the team's final ten contests...Led the team with 70 catches for 1,143 yards (16.3 avg) and thirteen touchdowns...Scored 78 points and recorded four tackles (3 solos) while causing one fumble...His 70 receptions rank third on the school's single-season record list, while his 1,143 yards receiving rank second...His thirteen touchdown grabs broke the old school single-season record of ten that was held by Sterling Sharpe (1986), Monty Means (1995) and Jermale Kelly (1997)...Rice's six 100-yard receiving games broke the school single-season record that was held by both Sterling Sharpe (1987) and Troy Williamson (2004).
Was granted a medical redshirt after Rice suffered a hyper-extended left knee during warm-ups prior to the team's second game of the season vs. Georgia.
2004: Granted a medical redshirt after he hyper-extended his left knee during warm-ups prior to the second game of the season vs. Georgia (9/11).
2005: Missed the season opener vs. Central Florida (9/01) after he suffered a pinky finger fracture on his left hand that required surgery.
Campus: 4.49 in the 40-yard dash (wind-aided)...4.55 in the 40-yard dash...35-inch vertical jump... 320-pound bench press...301-pound power clean...32 1/2-inch arm length...9 1/4-inch hands.
Combine: 4.53 in the 40-yard dash...1.58 10-yard dash...2.64 20-yard dash...4.34 20-yard shuttle...7.09 three-cone drill...39.5-inch vertical jump...9'11" broad jump.
Attended Gaffney (S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Phil Strickland...Regarded as the best receiver in the state of South Carolina during his senior year...Was named to the High School Sports Report Statewide All-State team and selected Offensive Player of the Year...Ended his career with 138 receptions for 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns...In 2003, Rice caught 57 passes for 897 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior... Had 38 catches for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns his junior campaign...Also excelled in basketball, earning 2002-03 Class 4A basketball Player of the Year, after helping lead Gaffney to the state championship...That season, he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds per game for his school, as the Indians finished the basketball season 28-0.
African-American Studies major...Born Sidney R. Rice on 9/01/86...Resides in Gaffney, South Carolina.
Sidney Rice NFL Bio
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