Internally, Liberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg, VA) offensive lineman Zach Rice believed he was one of the best in the country in his class. Last Wednesday (August 19), he got some confirmation when Rivals.com released its first rankings for the 2022 class.
Rice is ranked No. 11 in the Rivals100, the No. 3 overall offensive tackle in the class and a 5-star prospect. The ranking is early vindication for the 6’6”, 285-pound junior, who wants to keep working to improve his standing even more.
“It’s truly a blessing and me and my mom were really excited,” Rice said. “Honestly, it’s humbling and really exciting, but nothing changed. Everything seems to change because it’s a different label, but there’s just a bigger target on my back. I’m just gonna put my head down and work. Being a 5-star, being at the top, your spot can get taken at any second. You can go from nothing to the top in a snap. Just how I saw a few guys in my class go from No. 1 to somewhere else. I’ll just put my head down and who says I can’t get to No. 1.”
The Rivals ranking is a sign of the high demand for Rice this summer on the recruiting trail. He has more than 30 offers, including from Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Rice is moving swiftly in his recruitment and said he soon plans to release a top 15.
“I have that top 15 right now, but I could commit right now,” Rice said. “But I’m being patient. I have an idea who I already like. When it all (COVID) happened, I was on a Clemson visit and I really liked that. When COVID happened, I had 9 or 10 offers. I just kinda blew up over the summer, like LSU, Alabama, all that stuff. I’ve been on the phone with LSU and stuff, but I haven’t taken visits at all. So I still wanna take those.”
Like a growing number of his high school football peers, Rice is trying to adjust to the changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia High School League has canceled all fall sports and Liberty Christian has followed suit. While the league and school both hope to play in the spring, Rice said he is using this time to continue to work on his game.
“To be honest, we started off really early on in workouts,” he said. “We started like we were gonna play. We got word that we wouldn’t...
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