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Five-star OT Zach Rice commits to UNC

Mack Brown lands a big one.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Mayhem at MBS - North Carolina at Georgia Tech Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The best offensive tackle in the class of 2022 has decided he’ll be calling Chapel Hill home. Zach Rice, a five-star recruit out of Liberty Christian Academy, made his much-anticipated announcement on Thursday that he has committed to Mack Brown and the Tar Heels.

UNC already had favorable positioning in the recruiting ranks for 2022, but landing a big time guy like Rice gives them one of the better classes in the nation to this point. Rice decided to pick UNC over teams like Alabama, Notre Dame, Virginia, and Ohio State. The fact that Brown is able to compete with schools like that and still land his guy is really impressive.

The offensive line has been a pain point for UNC this season, so being able to look forward to having a guy like Rice coming paints a rosier picture than the one we’ve been seeing lately. Rice is the second five-star recruit Mack has landed in next year’s class with Travis Shaw being the first.

Admittedly, seeing Rice still want to hitch his wagons to the Tar Heels is a bit of a relief after rough results so far in what was meant to be a very promising season. Maybe that isn’t giving recruits enough credit, but they could hardly be blamed for seeing things going kind of sideways in Chapel Hill and retreating to the soft landing that they’d find in Tuscaloosa, for example. It’s a credit to Rice that he sees that and views it as an opportunity to make the team better instead of running away from the challenge. You love to see that kind of energy.

In his announcement, Rice said that he plans to enroll early at UNC to be able to start practice as soon as possible.