Updated: Jun 2
Our scouting reports roll along with one that many of you have probably been looking forward to for a while. We head to the state of Virginia to look at one of the top Tar Heel targets in the 2022 recruiting cycle, 5✮ OT Zach Rice, the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country according to 247Sports. Here is our breakdown of Rice’s game from one of Liberty Christian Academy’s games earlier this year against region foe Amherst County.
This game had to have been one of the best of his season, as he was simply dominant in every aspect of the game in this one. Rice finished the night with 12 knockdowns and failed to allow a sack or tackle for loss, helping the Liberty Christian offense move up and down the field constantly throughout the night on the way to putting up 56 points. He also saw a decent amount of reps on the defensive side of the football at nose tackle and tallied four total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and a helped force fumble in those limited reps.
There is a reason why Rice is rated as the top tackle in the recruiting class. He has a complete game, as he was dominant in both run and pass blocking situations. He plays every snap with a violent streak, as he simply bullied defenders in this one and he has those violent hands to go along with that ability. He has plenty of athleticism, as shown by his pull block ability and strong lateral movement and strong footwork, allowing him to establish a solid base. His hand placement is very good, which allows him to push defensive ends around with ease. The only concern may be the level of competition, but his attributes are just way too strong to ignore. Rice would be the type of addition that would add the type of talent that could take this Tar Heel team to the next level in the trenches.
The Tar Heels are one of five teams still in the running for Rice’s services, all five of which will receive visits in June. The Tar Heels will be the first of that group to host him, but it will be an unofficial visit, while all of the other finalists will get officials from him. The good news for the Tar Heels is that he has already been on campus in Chapel Hill multiple times including attending two Tar Heel games on campus a year ago. Right now, it seems like the consensus is that the Tar Heels are amongst the group of three that have separated themselves to land his services, joining Alabama and Virginia. It’s tough to get a read on who is seen as the leader of those three right now, meaning the month of June will be an extremely important one in his recruitment.
Rice is the latest of many targets that we will be looking at over the next few months with games from the past football season. In our next scouting report, we’ll come back to the home state for a look at the Tar Heels most recent offer, a Georgia quarterback from the 2023 class.