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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Rashee Rice, SMU Mustang, now Chiefs wide receiver faces the 49ers in Super Bowl 58

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Rashee+Rice%2C+now+a+wide+receiver+playing+for+the+Kansas+City+Chiefs+in+LVIII+Super+Bowl%2C+is+seen+here+catching+during+an+NCAA+football+game+at+Ford+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+22%2C+2022.
Mark Reese
Rashee Rice, now a wide receiver playing for the Kansas City Chiefs in LVIII Super Bowl, is seen here catching during an NCAA football game at Ford Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Rashee Rice. 938 receiving yards, 79 receptions, 7 touchdowns. A big name that will be showcased on the millions of television screens this Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58. 

Rice, a Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver, has become Mahomes’ go-to guy. But how did he advance to become such a reliable teammate and star athlete? Rob Likens, Rice’s college coach and mentor, connects Rice’s success to his knowledge of the game and his character on and off the field. 

“There is a difference between playing the game of football and being a football player,” says Likens. “What differentiates them is people like Rashee Rice.” 

Rice had a notable career while playing football at SMU including setting a school record for single-season receiving yards and receiving All-AAC First Team honors in 2022. 

During his freshman year, Rice demonstrated his on-field capabilities whenever required. In 2019, as a newcomer to the team, then-head coach, Sonny Dykes highlighted Rice’s performance when he filled in for Reggie Roberson Jr., tallying 122 receiving yards against Memphis. 

“I thought Rashee played well. He made some competitive plays as we anticipated,” Dykes told the DC in 2019.

While physically playing the game of football well, what sets Rice apart is his mental ability to understand the game and apply what he learns in meeting rooms and practices on the field, Likens says.

“His ability to process information from inside the meeting room when something new was presented to him and then his ability to actually physically go out and perform it at a high level,” says Likens, “His is good or better than anybody I have ever coached.”

During the NFL Scouting Combine, Rice showed an emphasis on being a leader both on and off the field.

“I don’t really focus on the mock drafts. I’ve been learning how to control what I can control,” Rice said in a press release from 2023.

His time at SMU prepared him well for the big leagues. Rice’s record breaking career gave him a taste of being on top. 

“He was our guy,” explains Likens. “When you get used to that, you demand that of yourself.” 

After his many years of coaching, Rob Likens says it doesn’t take but a few reps to see a player’s athleticism and what that player’s ceiling can be. 

“I could tell within two or three reps,” says Likens. “He had the ability to play at the next level.” 

Success for Rice not only includes his ability to perform on the field, but also off the field. 

“He desperately wants to be a good father,” expresses Likens. “That is when I knew this guy was going to be successful.” `

Being a father has contributed to Rice’s career in more ways than one. Likens noticed there was a connection between coaching and fatherhood and the understanding of what it means to be coachable. 

Coach Likens and Rashee Rice hugging after Rice broke the record.

Likens shares the story of Rice’s last game against Memphis when he broke the record of the new SMU single-season receiving yards.

“The hug that we shared after that game we both kinda got emotional and wouldn’t let go of each other,” says Likens. “That was a really awesome moment.”

Likens also recalls when he gave a lecture and reminded the players of a phrase he coined back in 2006, “Don’t be soft.” 

“I wanted my guys to keep that phrase with them their entire life because life gets hard and you will have to fight through adversity,” says Likens. “People are going to reject you, people are going to tell you your job at some point in time you aren’t good enough, and you will have to be tough, and you will have to believe in yourself.” 

The phrase was shortened by the team to be “DBS.” Likens joked that the players should get it tattooed on their bodies so they are always reminded. 

“I came in the next day and Rashee raised his hand and said ‘Hey coach, look’, he had gotten “DBS” on his hand,” says Likens, “Next thing I know, almost all of us in the wide receiver room were at the tattoo parlor getting DBS tattoos.”

Coach Likens is looking forward to the Super Bowl to watch Rice continue to show up for his team and see another player he coached, Brandon Aiyuk, play on the field with the 49ers. 

Tune in today, Sunday, Feb. 11 at 5:30 pm central time to watch Super Bowl 58.

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