Senior Bowl Player Profile: SMU WR Rashee Rice
On February 4th, Mobile’s game will be held at Hancock-Whitney Stadium and over a hundred of the nation’s draft hopeful seniors will descend on the Gulf Coast for a week of practice in front of scouts from every NFL team before the Senior Bowl. Leading up to the game, we’ll take a look at a different prospect every day and talk about their background, their college career, where they could be drafted, and how the Senior Bowl could help them. Today, we’ll take a look at SMU’s spectacular wide receiver, Rashee Rice:
Rice is a Texas native and a graduate of Richland High School in North Richland Hills. He was not a completely unknown commodity coming out of high school, but did not garner attention from the top schools as a 3-star recruit who 247 Composite ranked as the 102nd overall receiver in the nation. He committed to play for SMU over offers from schools that included Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, BYU, and a few others.
Rice has developed every season over his career for the Mustangs before a senior year explosion in 2022. He contributed to the offense his freshman year, playing in ten games and catching 25 passes for 403 yards and a touchdown. He stepped it up his sophomore year with three 100 yard games and finishing the year with 48 receptions for 683 yards and five scores. He started to garner national attention his junior year, being named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list after a season in which he started all 12 games and caught 64 passes and nine touchdowns.
This season was Rice’s best by far, though. He began to dominate for the Mustangs offense in 2022, so much so that he would be named a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. He shattered career highs in every category, catching 96 passes for 1,355 yards and ten touchdowns. His season earned him a place on just about every awards list you can think of and started to garner him attention as an early round draft prospect. In the final game of his career, a victory over Memphis, Rice caught 13 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. Check out some of the highlights from his dominant senior campaign:
Current Draft Projection:
This class of wide receivers is interesting in that it feels like there are only 2-3 guys that are locks to be first round picks, but there will be value found at the position outside the first round. Jordan Addison of USC and Jaxon Smith-Njigba of Ohio State are all but guaranteed to go on the first night, and TCU’s Quentin Johnston will likely do the same. Outside of the top guys, value will be found on the second day of the draft between Rice, Josh Downs of North Carolina, Zay Flowers of Boston College, Kayshon Boutte of LSU, and Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee. Rice will likely fall a notch below the top guys, but can easily be the first one off the board in round two with the potential to move up even higher if he has a great pre-draft showing.
How the Senior Bowl Could Help Him:
In terms of draft status, Rice is the best receiver on paper that will be at the Senior Bowl. He will be going up against a very talented group of defensive backs in Mobile, and if he can dominate, it will be a major step towards securing his second-round status and potentially even moving up higher than that. Rice has elite physicality and ball skills and is able to create separation in short areas, but SMU’s spread offense naturally limited his route tree. The Senior Bowl will offer Rice a chance to demonstrate the skills he already has as well as work on things that scouts may be concerned about.