USC football coach Will Muschamp was on the phone Wednesday night with five star OT Zach Rice (6-6 282) of Lynchburg, VA. and Rice is interested in learning more about the program and developing relationships with Muschamp and offensive line coach Eric Wolford. The Gamecocks are one of the many offers for Rice who is ranked the #2 offensive tackle nationally for 2022 in the 247Sports Composite.
“I’ve been talking to some people over there. It’s honestly grown on me,” Rice said. “He (Muschamp) seems like a real passionate guy. I respect a lot of coaches that still work out and stuff like that, and he had just gotten out of the shower, and he was in his office. I just kind of respect that you stay in shape for your players type of thing. I really respect that. Some of the coaches get their graduate assistants to text their players and stuff, and he was telling me that was actually him and it was coming from the heart.”
Rice also has had conversations with Wolford.
“He said he wouldn’t have offered me if he didn’t see that I have potential,” Rice said. “He sent coach a workout video that they did and it was cool to see that. He was showing some stats and stuff he tells me.”
The long list of offers for Rice includes Alabama, Auburn, Virginia, Ohio State, Florida, Notre Dame, Duke, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, Penn State, Miami, North Carolina, Southern Cal, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Michigan and Tennessee. Clemson has shown interest but has not yet offered. Rice is now working thru the offers and overtures to see who is real and is is not when it comes to wanting him.
“Right now I’m just trying to see which coaches are telemarketers and stuff like that,” Rice said. “I haven’t gotten an offer from Clemson, Auburn or Texas,, and that’s the three schools I’ve kind of been waiting for. But I’d rather go for a four year relationship that I’m building with some other schools that offered like two years ago than waiting for Clemson to offer Lord knows when, or Auburn.”
Rice visited Clemson earlier this year with close friend and fellow five-star tackle Gunner Givens of nearby Daleville. Besides that, Rice said he’s not had much interaction with the Tigers.
“I took a visit there but I have not had any contact,” Rice said. “Their quarterbacks coach (Brandon Streeter) actually coached with my head coach at Liberty Christian Academy. My coach knows him and has spoken to him, and they think they’ll offer. Honestly, I appreciate them taking this long, but I’m going to grind for it and if I don’t get it, then I feel like it wasn’t God’s plan.”
It’s evident Rice is a people person. He’s not going to be swayed by promises of playing time or by gaudy facilities. He’s looking at something more when it comes to deciding on a school.
“Relationships,” Rice said. “I realized thru this recruiting time I will mostly be spending my time with the offensive line coach and the strength coach, so I really want superior coaches. I’m looking for a team that has a same mindset as me, a winning mindset, which a lot of schools have. I know I need some academic help. I never asked for a handout, but a lot of people tell me I can have a tutor anytime, and have someone stay on me.”
Along with USC, Rice cited Ohio State, Miami, LSU, Virginia, Notre Dame and North Carolina as schools in regular contact at this point. Rice said right now he’s looking at his birthday of January 25th of 2022 for making a commitment announcement, but if the mood hits him, it could come sooner than that.