CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — He is 6-foot-6, 282-pounds, and Zach Rice is headed to Chapel Hill to play football for Mack Brown.
Rice, the top tackle in the class of 2022, selected North Carolina over Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and his home state of Virginia. What sold him, you ask?
“I want to play for a Hall of Fame head coach. Mack Brown is amazing,” Rice said. “We’re on the come-up right now, I really believe that, and the only thing I can do is get better.”
Rice announced his decision in his high school gym at Liberty Christian Academy with teammates, family and friends looking on. When he finally hoisted the powder blue hat the crowd erupted in cheers and applause.
“I had a very good relationship with Dré Bly and coach (Stacy) Searels played in the NFL [and] he has experience. I know he can make me a freshman All-American,” said Rice. “There is no way I could be red-shirted. I’m coming in and I am ready to block for whoever.”
When Rice said he was coming in and he was ready he was not kidding. He plans to leave high school after the winter semester and be in Chapel Hill in January as an early enrollee, in time for spring practice leading into the 2022 season.
“It’s most definitely a relief making the decision,” said Rice. “I don’t think it will hit me until tomorrow but right now I’m just so happy.”
Rice went on to say how he’s looking forward to playing with UNC running back commit George Pettaway and current UNC defensive back Tony Grimes who both hail from Virginia as well.
“It fuels me, and it makes me want to play better,” said Rice.
Rice ranks as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2022 class and the No. 7 overall prospect according to the 247Sports Composite.