FFE SPOTLIGHT: Liberty Christian junior tackle Zach Rice reaches 5-star status as one of nation’s top recruits

The 6-foot-6-inch, 305-pound offensive tackle has 31 offers to his name from some of the top programs in the country.
Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 8:30 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - For Liberty Christian Academy junior Zach Rice, the glow-up has been real.

“On the biggest recruiting website, I was ranked a 3-star and 331st in the nation, to the 11th recruit in the nation and a 5-star, so I’ve been really blessed,” he said.

Now, the 6-foot-6-inch, 305-pound offensive tackle has 31 offers to his name from some of the top programs in the country.

“Man, it was crazy," said Rice. "When I got the Ohio State offer, my mom’s knees buckled and she almost fell. It was crazy.”

Add on the likes of Alabama and Notre Dame, and local programs like Virginia Tech, Virginia and Liberty, and it’s clear the kid they call ‘Big Nasty’ is coveted from coast to coast.

“His improvement and his maturity has just grown leaps and bounds from those early years,” said L.C.A. head coach Frank Rocco.

Rocco knew Rice had the potential to be special as a 7th grader. He calls Rice a gentle giant but warns not to let that personality fool you.

“I wish I had a dollar for every time he said, ‘Thank you, Coach.’ He’s a very appreciative young man," said Rocco. "He’s a special guy that way, but then you put a helmet on him and shoulder pads and flip the switch. I mean, he’ll rip your face off, too. He is a perfect blend of what you would really like to have in a young man and also what you’d like to have in a football player.”

With no fall season this year, Rice said he’s taking the time to improve himself and learn from other top teams who are playing.

And to become one of the nation’s top recruits, he says he had to figure out who his friends were.

“Like Coach Rocco says and everybody, your five friends are who you are," said Rice. "So really, I started hanging out with some of my buddies from college and I would say we worked out two or three times a day. And it’s not like we worked out two or three times. It was consistent workouts that actually made me better.”

Though the pandemic has made the recruitment process an adventure in itself, the junior still has time to make the best decision for his future.

And with a spring season on the horizon, the Bulldogs' biggest star is waiting for his chance to shine.

“I asked God why me, and He honestly woke me up and, you know, nobody else gets this opportunity," Rice said. "So with that being said, I only get to live this out one time and it’s something I can tell my children. So I have to ball out for the rest of these high school years and through how far I make it.”

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