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Five-star Zach Rice chooses UNC over Virginia

Hoos miss out on #1 in-state prospect for 2022

South Carolina v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers narrowly missed out on one of the best high school football players in the country as in-state prospect Zach Rice announced Thursday that he would be attending UNC.

Rice is a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle from Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg. A unanimous five-star among the major recruiting services, he is also the unanimous #1 prospect in the Commonwealth’s class of 2022 recruits.

Beyond UNC and Virginia, the finalists for Rice’s commitment were Alabama, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. More than 30 other schools had also offered him a spot in their class.

Rice becomes the second five-star in UNC’s class of 2022, joining defensive lineman Travis Shaw. He is also the third top-five Virginia prospect to choose Chapel Hill after Nansemund-Suffolk running back George Pettway and Landstown wide receiver Tychaun Chapman.

Adding Rice vaults Carolina’s 2022 class into the top 10 nationally, just ahead of Texas A&M and behind Oklahoma.