MADISON, Ala. — Monty Rice received a Twitter direct message from Lane Kiffin on Sunday, two days after visiting Alabama. What Rice saw almost resulted in a permanent smile on his face.
“Kiffin messaged me telling me that Nick Saban wanted me to commit,” the three-star linebacker from James Clemens High School (Madison, Ala.) told SEC Country. “I smiled for a long time. That was great.”
Admittedly, Rice says Alabama is a school he’s wanted to play at for a while now, but the Crimson Tide do not lead. They are in the mix with Georgia, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Michigan and Florida State.
Some of Rice’s family members have attended Alabama, and they’ve made it known where they would like him to play college football.
“Every time they see me they make sure to mention Alabama,” Rice laughed.
Besides his family connections at Alabama, Rice said the other big reason for why he’s so high on the Crimson Tide has to do with how elite the defense has been over the years.
“Their defense is always in the mix for one of the top defenses in the country,” Rice said. “They always have a great defense and great linebackers.”
Linebacker may be Alabama’s deepest position, especially when you consider that the Crimson Tide signed two five-stars at the position in 2016.
We’ve already seen one five-star recruit, Dylan Moses, drop Alabama as his top school to No. 2 because of the depth at linebacker. Rice doesn’t care about the depth at Alabama. He believes he can play with anyone.
His coach said that last statement explains Rice’s alpha-male mentality.
“Monty is focused on finding out who the best is and trying to beat them,” James Clemens coach Wade Waldrop said.
That attitude is what helped Rice gain a spot on the varsity team at James Clemens in his 10th grade year. After two games in junior varsity, Rice accumulated around 30 tackles. The JV offensive coordinator told Waldrop that Rice needed to be on the varsity team. Since then, Waldrop called Rice one of the most-gifted athletes he’s ever come across.
“Monty is in the top 1 to 2 percent of most athletic kids I have ever coached,” Waldrop said. “He’s physically talented, explosive, fast, he can do it all.
“When you ask what an SEC athlete is, that’s an SEC athlete.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.