Few people knew the name Rashee Rice ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. Before becoming an integral part of the Kansas City Chiefs offense, he was clawing to get to that point. So, where did Rice go to college? We look at his college football career, but also how he became a star at that level.
Rashee Rice College Career Begins at SMU
Rice always had a chip on his shoulder, which followed him into college. He committed to the SMU Mustangs, and quickly inserted himself into the passing attack.
The 6’2″ and 177-pound freshman from North Richland Hill, Texas, found himself in a stacked offense in 2019. Current head coach and then offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee knew he had something in the freshman, so he got him on the field right away.
Rice sat behind James Proche, Reggie Roberson Jr., and tight end Kylen Granson, but still managed to catch 25 passes for 403 yards and a touchdown. His role in the rotation would turn into a more prominent position over the next few years, however, and his draft stock rose quickly.
Even with Roberson and Granson back in 2020, Rice became the top target for quarterback Shane Buchele in a shortened season. He caught 48 passes for 683 yards and five touchdowns, all leading the team. He would lead the team in receptions and touchdowns in 2021 too, finishing second in receiving yards to Danny Gray.
Rice considered going pro after his junior season, but ultimately decided to return to SMU in 2022. The Mustangs would be short on experience at wide receiver, so his return was welcomed with open arms.
It was the right decision, it transpired, as his performances during that season elevated his draft stock more than any other year of his college football career.
Rice caught 96 passes in his senior year, tallying 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns, all team highs. At times, quarterback Tanner Mordecai only looked for the talented wide receiver, as he was the only reliable pass catcher for most of the season. Teams knew where he was at all times, but that didn’t usually matter.
At the NFL Combine, Rice showed the translatable athletic ability that had been apparent from his game film during his SMU career. His 40-yard dash time didn’t stand out, but he finished tied for first among wide receivers in the vertical jump.
Kansas City selected him in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and the former SMU wide receiver has been an integral part of the franchise’s run to Super Bowl 58 as a rookie.
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