Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown graduate Cam Rice continues impressive start to college career

WEST LIBERTY — Defensive lineman Cam Rice wasted no time picking up where he left off following his freshman season as a sophomore defensive lineman at West Liberty this fall. Rice, a Morgantown High graduate, was one of 38 athletes nationwide this season to be nominated for the prestigious Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year.

“Being nominated for the Harlon Hill trophy was a huge honor,” he said. “I was very surprised because there has only been one defensive player to win the Harlon Hill, so just being nominated is a huge accomplishment.”

The accolades have continually rolled in for Rice. He has also been named to the D2Football.com Elite 100, a Cliff Harris Award finalist, Honorable Mention Don Hansen Football Committee All-America Team, All-Super Region 1 Second Team, All-MEC First Team, earned three MEC Defensive Player of the Week honors and was named the D2Football.com National Defensive Player of the Week once.

“Being named to the D2football.com Elite 100 means a lot to me because it is nice to be recognized as one of the top 100 players in Division 2 football,” Rice said. “Receiving all of those accolades showed that my hard work is paying off. Before the season I made most of those accolades my goals for the end of the season and it felt good to be recognized.”

He forced four fumbles, blocked two kicks, and intercepted two passes, returning both for touchdowns in the season finale against Wheeling.

“The season finale against Wheeling was probably the best game I’ve ever played in my entire career so far,” Rice said. “Scoring two touchdowns against our rival was an awesome moment.”

He finished the season totaling 58 tackles, 23.5 tackles-for-loss and 9 sacks. He ended the year ranked first nationally in tackles-for-loss per game (2.4), third in total tackles-for-loss, tied for fourth in total forced fumbles, tied for fifth in forced fumbles per game (0.40), tied for tenth in sacks per game (0.90), tied for 16th in blocked kicks, and tied for 20th in the country in total sacks. He put up career highs of 10.0 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss three times, and 3.0 sacks.

Though he accomplished a lot this season, Rice feels there is still work to do next year. On Friday, Rice announced that he has entered the transfer portal.

“I think I made a big jump from my freshman year to my sophomore year but there is still a lot I need to improve on,” he said. “I am looking forward to next season — the main goal will be to win a conference championship and make it to the playoffs.”

Rice excels both on and off the football field. He was named to the Academic All-MEC Honor Roll for having a GPA of at least 3.70 during the 2023 fall semester.

“Being named Academic All-MEC was a huge accomplishment; finishing the semester with a 3.9 GPA while being successful on the field takes a lot of determination and hard work,” he said. “I changed my major to Sports, Recreation, and Wellness in the Community Education Program.

“After college, I plan to play football at the professional level. Wherever I end up playing, I want to immediately get involved in the community. I plan to start a Youth Sports Program for the at-risk kids in the community.”

TWEET @DomPostSports