In a world of college football recruiting where players will sometimes commit, decommit, recommit, decommit again, and so on and so forth with multiple teams, Landon Rice deserves an award for sticking by his word.
Rice committed to Auburn so long ago that I couldn't even find an article in our archives on his commitment. His 247Sports timeline shows his commitment date back on 19 November 2013. That was just a few short days after the Miracle at Jordan-Hare against Georgia.
Rice, a native of Calhoun, GA, was flying somewhat under the radar in terms of his national rankings for a while. He spent most of his time as a 3*. He finally got the bump to a composite 4* only recently. Since his commitment to Auburn, he gained offers from Georgia, Florida, and Michigan. Through all that, he stuck with the Tigers.
Since I can't find his original commitment article, how about we discuss the particulars of this great kid? He is a January enrollee who will play in the Under Armour All-America Game. He's 6'5, and weighs 250 lbs. So, he's basically the same size as Cam Newton.
Auburn only has two other true tight-ends on the roster right now, and both of those will only be sophomores next season. I'll write more about it later, but I really think the player Auburn missed most in 2015 (other than Nick Marshall) was CJ Uzomah. I don't remember a pass being thrown to a tight-end a single time last season. I don't know if that's because Gus and Rhett didn't have faith in Jalen Harris and Chris Laye, or if it was for other reasons. Either way, Auburn needed more tight-ends. Rice is a great one.
That's a big boy. I love how he catches the football: both hands out in front, away from the body. He actually catches it, rather than just letting it hit him and hoping he grabs it. There's a ton of footage on there, and perhaps the best part is his ability as a blocker, too. Rice looks like the absolute perfect player to fit the H-Back/TE roll for Gus Malzahn of someone who doesn't have to sub in and out. He can do everything required of the position. He does well blocking inside, and also going outside to block on screen passes.
There are flashier recruits in this class, but on offense he may end up being one of the most important ones.