Former James Clemens Star Player Monty Rice Preps For NFL- Completes College Career At Georgia
ATHENS, GA.- As a high school senior at James Clemens High in 2017 Monty Rice followed his heart when changed his commitment from LSU to Georgia to attend college and play football in the Southeastern Conference. With the decision his mother cried with joy and his grandmother told him to follow his dream.
Now, four years later, Rice made another front page news decision when he opted not to partake in his team’s selection against Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl held on New Year’s Day. Instead, he’s prepping his mind and body for what he hopes to be a long and successful career playing football in the National Football League. He completed his four years at Georgia playing in 40 games with 219 total tackles including 115 solo pounces and a finalist for the coveted Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker. After the final tally, Rice finished fourth with 14-percent of the votes.
In a twitter post, Rice said, “To my family, thank you for standing by me and encouraging me as I pursue my dreams. Your support is what keeps me going. To the loyal Georgia fans, you are the best in the nation and I want to thank you for welcoming me and cheering for me every game day. Playing for you has been an honor. Go Dawgs!”
Rice celebrated his 22nd birthday this week and fully remembers as a native of Huntsville growing up in the area. He first attended high school at St. John Paull II, but suffered a broken leg and dislocated knee in his freshman year. He chose to live with a different family in Madison and began to attend James Clemens as a sophomore and his game elevated to where he became a four-star recruit and highly sought after his play at linebacker.
He was part of the “Big Three” for the Jets alongside two other highly recruited players in LaBryan Ray and Kyriq McDonald, both of whom signed with Alabama while Rice committed to LSU over Auburn and Georgia before quickly realizing he made a mistake and changed his mind and signed with the Bulldogs. Rice stated at the time, “I just followed my heart.”
Once arriving on campus in Athens, Ga., Rice was a quick learner and soon made his way into the starting lineup and this year was named First Team All-SEC and Butkus Award finalist. He led the Bulldogs to an overall second best defense in the SEC including a conference-best 69.3 yards rushing allowed. The Dawgs finished 7-2 during the regular season losing only to Alabama and Florida. One of his major highlights came in the fourth quarter versus Tennessee when came on a blitz and sacked the Volunteer quarterback causing a fumble, which Rice scooped up and rambled for 20 yards on a scoop-six. It was his first touchdown since his senior year at James Clemens and his first sack since his sophomore season. He played most of his senior season with a foot injury that required regular treatment.
His senior class was responsible for three SEC East titles, one SEC Championship and the program’s first National Championship Game appearance since the 1980s.
At 6-1, 235, Rice is projected as a third round NFL draft pick and who is celebrated by the NFL scouts as a good athlete with good lateral agility and closing to the football. He has sound quickness and demonstrates very good instincts to locate the football. He’s also being looked at as a possible special teams player for whatever team he signs with. He left the Georgia program after finishing his last two seasons as the team leader in tackles from his linebacker position.
Rice is spending every moment he can prepping for the April NFL Draft. Once he’s selected and signs a contract with the team that has chosen him, he can complete his grandmother’s wish and live his dream.