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Jylin Rice, No. 20, completed his senior season at Bob Jones at cornerback for the Patriots in 2019. He has been named the recipient of the Class 7A, Region 4 Student Achievement Winner as part of the 35th Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Awards. Photo- Kris Kasprzak

Jylin Rice- Incredible Obstacles, Wins Bryant-Jordan Award

MONTGOMERY- Jylin Rice has been through obstacles in his life that many could not envision nor be able to achieve success after such an array of hurdles. He just completed his senior season at Bob Jones as cornerback for the Patriots football team in 2019. For his extraordinary efforts he has been named the recipient of the Class 7A, Region 4 Student Achievement Winner as part of the 35th Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Awards.

Each of the regional winners were to be presented a $3,000 scholarship and be in line for the State Award in each of the seven classification with an additional $3,500 scholarship award at the annual banquet held at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel. Due to the recent developments in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the banquet has been cancelled. The Bryant-Jordan Foundation instead will produce a television and online event announcing the winners on April 13 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

The broadcast will air on both the AHSAA TV Network and the NFHS Network and on-line at bryantjordan.org, ahsaa.com and ashof.org.

“I was really looking forward to the banquet as I went out and bought me a new black suit, shirt and tie for the event,” said Rice. “I’m proud of being selected among so many great student-athletes.”

The award is named in honor of legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan and annually recognizes 52 senior student-athletes in both Scholar Athlete and Achievement classifications. The Scholar Athlete includes those student-athletes who made a perfect 36 on the ACT Test along with athletic prowess on the field. The Achievement Award is presented to those student-athletes who have accomplished so much, many times facing incredible health or family obstacles, and excelled to their best ability.

Rice, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back has had his fair share of both health and personal situations, which made his an easy choice for the Bryant-Jordan Award. In football, he missed his entire junior season after he suffered a leg injury to his shin. After fighting back through months of rehabilitation and for a starting position for the Patriots, Rice again fell victim to injury during his senior season.

“I started the first five games of the season and against Hillcrest I broke my leg and suffered a fractured ankle,” said Rice. “It happened in the second quarter of the game and ended my season.”

His injuries caused Rice to eliminate the idea of possibly playing college football and instead will try and earn a degree in mechanical engineering at North Alabama. He will carry a 3.1 grade point average to the university and leave his sports behind as just memories.

“My goals in life are now to earn my degree, raise a family and work at the Toyota plant here in Huntsville,” said Rice.

Rice will be fully supported by his mother, Porscha, who works on Redstone Arsenal, but will not have his father by his side in the next chapter of his life. His father, Tee Rice, committed suicide in 2018 leaving both his wife and their only child to fend for themselves.

Rice was at home when he heard a loud noise and quickly went to investigate in his home. He found his father had shot himself. It was a moment he will never forget and forever changed the then 16-year old.

“We had a close relationship as my father helped me when I played both football and basketball,” said Rice. “The experience made me to want to help people more as life is short.”

Today, Rice attends a full day of school and then takes a shower and changes clothes at the school as he quickly makes his way to the local Jack’s Restaurant where he works a shift that typically ends at 10:00 p.m. Upon arriving at home he sits down to complete his school work and usually falls into bed completely exhausted by 1:00 a.m.

“I don’t have much time for a social life, but I do enjoy hanging out with my friends, read, draw and play video games,” said Rice, who has won several art contests for his artistic talents and has been on the school’s A-B Honor Roll.

Born in Huntsville, Rice fought off asthma that troubled him until the seventh grade. He and his mother currently occupy an apartment in nearby Triana.

Rice understands his life and is gearing up for his dreams he has conjured up after accepting the fact he would not be able to tackle football on the collegiate level nor live his life without his father’s love and advice.

“I would like to tell others that life gives you things you must overcome to continue and I advise anyone to not give up,” said Rice. “Keep pushing to success. It’s obtainable.”

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