|Clovis High linebacker Tanner Rice can breathe a sigh of relief, as the Class of 2016 prospect landed his first scholarship offer from Minot State on Jan. 20 (photo by Lorenzo Reyna).|
Clovis High linebacker Tanner Rice is used to lifting heavy weights, but perhaps the biggest weight he ever came across was the one labeled “NCAA football recruiting period.”
Now, that load has finally been lifted off of his broad shoulders, as the Class of 2016 prospect became the recipient of his first scholarship offer on Jan. 20 as NCAA Division II program Minot State emerged as pledge No. 1. The Beavers’ scholarship opportunity ends the anxieties that Rice and his family endured as they waited to see which college program would make a run at him - especially after endless days of attending camps and tournaments just to market his name in front of college coaches.
“Finally receiving my first offer feels great. It's very rewarding to know that all my hard work has finally paid off!” Rice said. “My family and I are all very relieved that I have finally landed that first offer. All the stress has been lifted off our shoulders.”
The 6-foot, 215-pound Rice said the Beaver coaches were welcoming toward him.
“They were all very friendly and encouraging, and also helped me very much throughout the process,” Rice said. “They said that they really liked my size and strength; which was apparent on my film. Plus also (they like) my very aggressive playing style and that I could be a great contribution to their team and really make a difference.”
Rice was one of the cornerstones for a bellicose Clovis High defense known for swallowing running backs, pressuring quarterbacks and limiting scoring opportunities. Cougar opponents had to deal with No. 57 crashing down the line of scrimmage before throttling their quarterbacks and running backs. For his varsity career, Rice racked up 143 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks according to Max Preps.
Rice had plenty of supporters during the recruiting period, but none bigger than the ones he thanks the most.
“I would like to thank my parents for all the help and support they have given me,” Rice said. “They were always encouraging and my dad helped with reaching out to coaches as much as he could. I appreciate them very much and I wouldn't be where I am today without them.”
While Rice can let out a sigh of relief, he said he won’t immediately accept the Beavers’ pledge just yet.
“I would like to wait until National Signing Day to make a decision,” Rice said. “I would like to be patient and wait to see what other options become available to me before I make a life changing decision like this.”
Rice wasn't the only Clovis Cougar to receive some scholarship love from the Beavers. Fellow teammate Coltin Velasquez also landed an offer from Minot State. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Velasquez finished his senior year with 62 catches, 1,126 yards and a team-high 14 touchdowns for the 11-2 Cougars.