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LSU football recruiting 2017: Linebacker Monty Rice picks the Tigers

The LSU Tigers picked up a big win on Monday when linebacker Monty Rice chose them over Georgia and Auburn.

LSU linebacker commit Monty Rice
Keith Niebuhr, 247Sports

The LSU Tigers picked up a big—and underrated—commitment on Monday in the form of linebacker Monty Rice.

Rice, a 6’1”, 228-pound linebacker from Madison, Alabama, chose the Tigers over fellow SEC schools Georgia and Auburn. Rice, ranked as a 3-star prospect according to 247Sports, is a player who, arguably, should be ranked higher.

He possesses good size with the ability to add 10-15 pounds of muscle at the next level. He was timed at 4.62 seconds in the 40 over the summer and plays with the type of reckless abandon teams love from an inside linebacker. While Rice is an aggressive player, he’s smart too. He has outstanding instincts and does a good job of diagnosing plays at the snap.

His film shows a player who not only is strong versus the run, but strong in pass coverage, too. He recorded five interceptions during his senior season.

In other words, he’s the type of linebacker LSU loves.

So, why is Rice ranked as a 3-star? Perhaps there’s some concern about Rice’s agility and ability to shed blocks. From watching his film, that doesn’t appear to be a major issue. Is Rice more fast than quick? Sure, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. His speed combined with his instincts make up for any apparent shortcomings as it relates to agility or change-of-direction skills.

For LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, getting Rice has to be considered a steal. While most projected Rice to Georgia or Auburn, LSU’s coaching staff did a good job of closing on Rice and showing him Baton Rouge was the right place for his talents.

Rice made it clear that Aranda was a big reason he picked the Tigers, according to Alabama.com’s Daniel Boyette.

They've (LSU) always wanted me. Dave Aranda called me and texted me and kept trying to get me to come there to visit. It's kind of far away. During the summer, I made it there and I was like, 'I really like this place.’ It's the happiest day of my life.

Rice will enroll in January and with his commitment the Tigers rank No. 5 in 247Sports’ Composite Team Rankings.