LSU’s linebacker recruiting received a boost Monday.
Monty Rice, the 21st-ranked inside linebacker in the 2017 class, chose the Tigers over other finalists Georgia and Auburn, giving Ed Orgeron’s first commitment class a second pledged linebacker. Rice was expected to immediately sign financial aid agreements with LSU, as he will enroll at the mid-year in January.
Linebacker is an area of need for LSU, especially inside backers like Rice, a 6-1, 227-pound Alabama native. LSU has just three inside linebackers on the projected 2017 roster, and the Tigers have struggled in landing out-of-state linebackers.
Rice becomes just the third non-Louisiana linebacker to accept a scholarship offer to LSU in five years. Rice joins Livonia’s Patrick Queen as linebackers in the class. Queen, at 6 feet, 209 pounds, is expected to play outside linebacker.
Recruiting is never a difficult task for LSU.
Rice becomes the 18th verbal pledge in the class, and he joins the group after the Tigers lost the commitment Monday morning of dual-threat quarterback Lowell Narcisse, a St. James product who says he will now make an announcement at the Under-Armour All-American Game. Narcisse has narrowed his finalists to Memphis, LSU and Auburn.
Rice had offers from a host of other program outside of his finalist list, including Ole Miss, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Tennessee and others. He's a needed asset at such a key position. LSU is losing its two inside linebackers this year in Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley. Junior Donnie Alexander, freshman Devin White and junior Devin Voorhies are the only returning inside linebackers.
The Tigers did not sign a linebacker in the 2015 class and only signed two outside linebackers in 2016. White signed as a running back before moving to linebacker. LSU has missed on a host of out-of-state linebackers in the past. Orgeron and defensive Dave Aranda, Rice's primary recruiter, secured the 3-star product from Madison, Ala.
Rice asked the staffs at Georgia, LSU and Auburn not to visit him Sunday, the final day of the open contact period. Aranda understood the wishes and called Rice's mother, Scout.com reported.
"I love the coaching staffs at Auburn, Georgia and LSU, but what happened yesterday is coach Aranda called my mom. All the coaches wanted to be the last one to see me. I really didn't feel like seeing anyone," Rice told Scout.com. "(Aranda) was just like 'Alright, I understand' and was perfectly fine with it. The other schools didn't want to hear that, but it is what it is. It shows Dave Aranda is a caring person."
Rice joins several players who are expected to enroll in the mid-year next month. The list includes offensive tackle Austin Deculus, defensive backs JaCoby Stevens and Grant Delpit, defensive end Justin Thomas and receiver Mannie Netherly.
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