Lonnie Rice recaps Syracuse commitment: ‘They believed in me first’

Lonnie Rice
Courtesy: Lonnie Rice

The Orange’s latest commitment, Lonnie Rice, doesn’t look at Syracuse as a four-year commitment. When he announced his commitment to SU on Monday, he knew his decision extended far beyond that.

“It’s a place of culture and not just field. I feel like going to Syracuse can change my life on the field and off the field,” Rice said in an interview with The Juice Online. “With me, coming here, it’s not just for the next four years, it’s for the next 40 years.”

It was a long time coming for the Lackawanna (PA) CC linebacker, who also played at Buffalo. Syracuse was first in contact with him five years ago and Rice has been working toward getting the offer ever since then.

It finally happened earlier in December after Rice entered the transfer portal and was invited to Syracuse for an official visit.

“I was pumped,” Rice said. “And as soon as it happened I knew I was committing on the spot. I’ve literally been waiting for this moment since 2017 when I originally first came up.”

Aside from football, Rice wants to take advantage of the academics at Syracuse.

“A degree from Syracuse is major, and I don’t think people take that into consideration when choosing their (school),” Rice said.  “You’re going to meet so many people and be to network while playing at a high level of football everyday in the ACC.”

That made the decision easy for Rice, who committed to Syracuse over offers from FIU, Charlotte, Georgia State, Morgan State and Kent State, among others.

Once SU offered, a flood of other schools began reaching out to Rice as well. But by that point, he had already made up his mind.

“I had other Power 5 schools reach out to me but that was only because Syracuse believed in me first,” Rice said. “They took a chance and know I’m going prove to them that that made a great decision offering me.”

Needless to say, Rice is excited to get to work.

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“I’m looking forward to just putting them pads on and getting right to it day one,” Rice said. “I’m excited I made this decision and I can’t wait until day one.”

Rice joins a defense that that finished 26th in the country, allowing just 22.7 points per game. And though Syracuse lost its defensive coordinator, Tony White, to Nebraska, SU announced over the weekend they are hiring Rocky Long, who pioneered the 3-3-5 defense that the Orange runs.

“We were able to chop it up a little bit (on my visit),” Rice said. “I can’t wait to see what he’s got in store for the defense.”

He’s also looking forward to introducing himself to the Syracuse community as a tough, physical, playmaking linebacker.

“Seeing those fans in the Dome on Saturday (during my visit) gave me the chills,” Rice said. “I didn’t go to the school (yet), so imagine the feeling when you really run out with the team with that orange on!”

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]sujuiceonline.com.