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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels Make Another Monumental Splash in the 2022 Class, Land 5✮ OT Zach Rice

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The Tar Heels landed one of the nation’s top defensive tackles in the 2022 class back in the summer and on Thursday night, the Tar Heels added the top offensive tackle in the class to sure up the other side of the trenches. Mack Brown and his staff picked up the commitment of 2022 5✮ OT Zach Rice just a short time, adding a major piece for the future at a spot that is still in need of more talent.

Rice told CBS Sports HQ’s Erik Kuselias that the reason he committed to the Tar Heels was heavily based on the fact that he want to be a part of the Virginia movement to play for Mack Brown. “The Virginia vibe at UNC is the biggest thing,” he said. “It doesn’t get no better than that and we on the come up right now.” He also spoke with Kuselias about the fact that the Tar Heels give him the chance to accomplish his goals of retiring his mom and take care of his family.

Rice, a senior at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, VA, is in the midst of closing a strong prep career. Rice was named a preseason All-American by MaxPreps back in August. As a junior in the shortened season this past spring, he earned All-Lynchburg Area honors while helping lead the Bulldogs to a 3C Region title behind his 115 pancakes in eight games. He will play in the Polynesian Bowl early next year, a showcase game that takes place in O’ahu, Hawai’i each year.

His film is that of an elite prospect. He is a pancake machine that constantly rag dolls defenders with a powerful upper body and hands. He combines that with a strong lower body that allows him to drive defenders down field or plant them into the ground. He is a very good pass protector because of his excellent footwork and lateral movement. He handles the quicker and twitcher pass rushers at a high level because of his athleticism that can also be witnessed on the basketball court. He is a guy that provides position versatility with his size and skillset. Offensive linemen usually take some time to earn reps, but this young man is talented enough that he could fight for reps as a true freshman next season.

With Rice’s commitment, the Tar Heels class is now 15 players strong and holds commitments from two of the top nine players in the 2022 class. The commitment moves the Tar Heels class up to No. 9overall in the 2022 cycle according to 247Sports and jumps the class to the head of the ACC.


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