Will The Heisman Be Serving Rice?

By Richard Kent
Updated: September 10, 2007

NEW JERSEY — Just how good is Ray Rice? Put it this way, without Rice there would be no Rutgers in the Top 20. Is that a knock on Rutgers? No, it’s just about how good Rice is.

Rice did not make the Rutgers program. Guys like Paul Robeson and Brian Leonard did. Rice is not the greatest player ever at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have had other great players.

Take All-American center (former New York Titan) Alex Kroll, tight end (former Bengal) Marco Battaglia, or quarterback (former Jet) Ray Lucas. Clearly, Rice is a media darling and a Heisman candidate.

That’s really never happened at Rutgers before. Sure Leonard was a senior last year, but quickly the focus changed to Rice during the season. And he got plenty of votes for the 2006 Heisman (79 votes, finishing seventh).

In Rutgers’ season opener, Rice had 184 years against Buffalo. He had another 175 on the ground against Navy and three touchdowns. He also had his first receiving touchdown against Navy showing that he’s not a one dimensional player.

Rice had the entire nation watching him on ESPN’s Friday night game. There were no other college football games on TV that night. The Scarlet Knights won easily and Rice was the star. He now has five catches this season. He only had four all of 2006.

In the Navy game, Rice became the school’s all time leading rusher in the first quarter. His 3,143 career yards is more than another Big East Heisman candidate — Steve Slaton of West Virginia.

He’s had a 63-yard run for a touchdown in hiscareer. But Rice does not have blinding speed. He’s more of a north-south runner and has legs that never stop moving.

If the junior tailback from New Rochelle wins the Heisman, there are some that think he may not be back next season at Rutgers. However, Rice is a real team player and feels a commitment to head coach Greg Schiano.

After all, Schiano stayed at Rutgers eschewing an offer from Miami. Even if Rice wins the Heisman, he may want more. How about a National Championship. It’s not out of the question.

Not with players like Rice, or quarterback Mike Teel, or wideout Tiquan Underwood. Yes at Rutgers.Who would have believed it?