— Sports

Chasing Dreams: From UNC linebacker to country music star

Like many young football players growing up in North Carolina, Chase Rice set his sights on the NFL. After an outstanding sophomore season with the Tar Heels, that goal seemed realistic. Then the linebacker who tore up the ACC in 2006 tore up his left ankle in the season opener as a junior. Though he returned in 2007, Rice already knew pro football player was not going to be on his resume.

Country music star would be.

But when the draft time approaches, Rice recalls those days on the field and his hopes of reaching football’s highest level. “I certainly felt headed in that direction,” Rice says. “My (2006) year, I was the only player who didn’t come off the field, I could play inside and outside, and it was looking good. Then I only got a quarter and a half in my junior year, and that would have been my year, and hopefully, we were headed for the top of the ACC.

The following year the ankle was not the same, and I wasn’t the same player.

During the 2009 draft, five Tar Heels were selected, including wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the Giants in the first round. Nicks won a Super Bowl for the 2011 season with New York. Tight end Richard Quinn and wideout Brandon Tate went in the second round; tackle Garrett Reynolds, one of Rice’s closest friends today, was selected in Round 5, as was receiver Brooks Foster.

“I was up there playing the caliber of football those guys were, and that is why I can say I think I was up there to get drafted had I not been injured,” Rice says. “Obviously, you’ve got to get in the games and show up and get your experience. I felt I was right up with those guys and certainly do believe I had the chance. It didn’t work out that way. It worked out pretty well for Rice in another area of entertainment. His current hit is a pairing with Florida Georgia Line: “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.”

Rice also co-wrote the No. 1 song “Cruise” for that duo, which Florida Georgia Line also re-released as a remix featuring Nelly. On his own, Rice has had two top-five hits and a double-platinum No. 1 in “Eyes On You.”

Some of his songs reflect on his days as an athlete, mainly “Beats A Million Bucks” and “Carolina Can,” which has become something of an anthem for not only Tar Heels fans but the state itself.

Molly Aronson

Molly Aronson is a 26-year-old government politician who enjoys bowling, running and jigsaw puzzles. She is creative and exciting, but can also be very greedy and a bit greedy.She is an australian Christian who defines herself as straight. She has a post-graduate degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She is allergic to grasshoppers.

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