USC wideout Brenden Rice opens up on the weight his last name carries
Search Brenden Rice’s name—nothing else, just his name—and the first image that you’ll see is a picture of him and his father attached to a story wherein the first four words of the headline read “Son of Jerry Rice.”
When your dad is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a three-time Super Bowl champion, there is no escaping the weight of the last name. Rice, a sophomore wideout for the Trojans, knows that all too well.
“So people already realize me as Jerry Rice’s son,” Rice said recently during an appearance on the Momentum Truck podcast. “So just getting into that already, they already expect me to come with the cockiness and everything. But what happens when he’s quiet and he makes that catch, because you know he’s supposed to do that? What happens if he goes up top, scores a touchdown, and comes and daps you up? Oh, yeah, that’s some disrespectful stuff right there.
“They line up on the opposite side of the ball of me, ‘Where’s your daddy, boy?’ Man, I’ve heard it all. ‘Oh, B. Rice who?’ Everything.”
Jerry Rice is the NFL’s all-time leader in career receptions and the only player in NFL history to top 20,000 receiving yards for a career. The gap between first place—Rice—and second place on the NFL’s career yards list is roughly the same as the gap between second and 23rd.
That casts a shadow.
Fortunately for Rice, the sun shines all day in Los Angeles and the back of his jersey looks pretty clean right now.
“Everywhere you go that last name is looked at so highly,” he told local reporters this spring. “But here, we’re at USC. There’s no last name on the back of that jersey. I’m playing for that brand in front of me.”
That can serve as a relief. Rice gets to be his own man, his own receiver.
He left Colorado after one season to join Lincoln Riley at USC. As a freshman, he caught 21 balls for 299 yards and three scores, leading the Buffaloes in targets and touchdown grabs. Rice was a singular bright spot for a struggling passing attack. At USC, he figures to be a significant piece of a high-scoring offense.
“I’ve already exceeded everybody’s expectations except my own, so why do I need to feel the need for pressure?” Rice said. “Do it for yourself, not for anybody else. Quiet the haters, keep grinding, and put your best foot forward.”