October 21, 2008

Rice sets second official visit

Eufala, Ala., linebacker Hans Rice is closing in on a decision.

Rice has seen all of the schools he's considering already. His mother hasn't.

From the sounds of things, it's going to come down to her opinion as much as anything.

Rice just returned from an official visit to North Carolina State, and while he liked everything about Raleigh and the Wolfpack, the school that was his initial favorite continues to occupy a place in his heart and mind. However, his mother hasn't seen Ole Miss yet. That is about to change.

Rice has set up an official visit to Ole Miss for Nov. 1, the date the Rebels entertain Auburn at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

"I'm going to give Ole Miss a look with my mom coming down there," said Rice, who loved an unofficial visit he took to Oxford back in April. "I just know if she doesn't really like the place, there's a good chance I won't go there. She really doesn't know anything about Ole Miss. That's why we're going to take the visit."

Rice said Ole Miss, North Carolina State and Vanderbilt are his finalists, but it's likely worth noting that Rice doesn't plan to take an official visit to Vanderbilt before he makes a decision.

Rice said he's been following Ole Miss from a distance this season, talking frequently to Ole Miss wide receivers coach Ron Dickerson Jr. and occasionally to head coach Houston Nutt.

"I got a good impression on Coach Nutt the first time I talked to him," Rice said. "It was a lasting impression. It seems like they're in every game. They seem to hurt themselves early on and then regain their composure. If they can start the way they finish, they'll be all right."

Ole Miss is 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference, losing close games to Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and most recently, Alabama. However, Rice said he's not worried about the final record. Instead, he's evaluating the entire package.

"It's not really about the wins and losses," Rice said. "There is a difference between blowout wins and losses. I look at who's hurt and everything when a team wins or a team loses. You have to look at a lot of factors."

Rice has 52 tackles, six pass break-ups, two caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries so far this season, adding four receptions for 90 yards on offense. Eufala is off to a 5-3 start.

"We're finally starting to come together," Rice said. "Even though we won the first three games, we weren't cohesive. It seemed like it took three games for us to lose to really come together. It's fun once again."

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