Brenden Rice and Jerry Rice embrace at USC's stadium.
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

USC's Brenden Rice Is Chasing History Like His Dad

Brenden Rice, the son of NFL great Jerry Rice, is having a breakout season at USC. He could etch his name in school record books, too.

Having a father who was a former professional football player can provide a spotlight for players to perform up to certain expectations. But when your dad is a three-time Super Bowl champion, a 10-time All-Pro and is known as the greatest wide receiver of all time, that spotlight becomes bigger and brighter.

That is the light that USC wide receiver Brenden Rice finds himself in.

Jerry Rice stands atop the NFL record boards in yards, touchdowns and receptions; was a part of one of the greatest NFL dynasties; and has a list of career accolades that some wish to get even a half of. And his son is starting to show the GOAT pedigree in his senior year with the Trojans.

Brenden Rice was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and found himself committing to the University of Colorado to help turn the Buffaloes around. In his freshman year, Rice did not see the field much, appearing in just six games of the 2020 season. However, in his sophomore season, Rice played a bigger role for the team, starting all 11 games as both receiver and return specialist. Following his sophomore year, Rice announced that he would transfer to USC to play for newly hired head coach Lincoln Riley, giving himself a fresh start with one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Caleb Williams.

In Rice's first year at USC, he finished with career highs in yards, receptions and touchdowns, totaling 611 yards and four touchdowns on just 39 receptions. That left 2023 with high expectations for the talented receiver — and so far, those expectations have been met.

Through six games, Rice has hauled in 21 passes for 434 receiving yards and leads the team with seven receiving touchdowns. What makes this even more impressive is that the Trojans have plenty of talent at the wide receiver position. With names such as Tahj Washington and Zachariah Branch to share the workload with, Rice has made the best of every opportunity and catch he gets in a game to make an impact for both his team and his NFL Draft stock. And standing 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, there's plenty for NFL scouts to like.

When he returned to Colorado this season, he caught two touchdowns and put up 81 yards. He then reflected on his time at Colorado, a place that has since been transformed thanks to head coach Deion Sanders:

The USC Trojans are 6-0 and have a grueling schedule ahead of them, with five of their next six opponents currently ranked in the AP Top 25. That means Rice will have to keep contributing and keep improving. Through the first two games of the season, Rice only had four receptions for 49 yards and two scores; but he has since broken out, averaging a tick over 96 yards a game while also catching five touchdowns.

Rice's Pace Could Put Him in USC's Record Book

At Rice's current rate, he could find himself in the Trojans' record book with the most touchdowns in a single season (currently 16)Mike Williams recorded 16 in 2003, and Dwayne Jarrett posted 16 in 2005.

Sure, it might be tough for Rice to keep up the touchdown rate he's at, but he has a Heisman Trophy winner throwing him the ball, which makes this seem all the more plausible. Plus, USC has six more regular season games before the PAc-12 Championship Game and more after that.

It is tough to follow in someone's footsteps, but it is also unfair to have expectations put upon you when you are your own person. Brenden Rice has a lot to accomplish to match what his dad did, but that should not take away the fact that he is one of the best receivers in all of college football and is well on his way to playing on Sundays in the NFL. Brenden Rice is a big-play, record-breaking type of receiver who has finally broken out onto the scene, putting the rest of the Pac-12 and college football on notice.

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