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BOULDER, CO - November 6, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder's  Brenden Rice (2) celebrates the win with the fans and Brendon Lewis. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – November 6, 2021: University of Colorado Boulder’s Brenden Rice (2) celebrates the win with the fans and Brendon Lewis. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Another one of Colorado’s best football players is in the transfer portal.

On Saturday, receiver Brenden Rice, a rising sophomore, announced his decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

CU has had 13 scholarship players put their names in the transfer portal since September, including 10 since the season came to a close on Nov. 26. Only three starters have put their names in the portal, but all three have been in the past two weeks. Rice joins cornerback Christian Gonzalez and safety Mark Perry as  starters in the portal.

BOULDER, CO - Sept. 18, 2021: ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Brenden Rice makes a catch in front of Minnesota’s Jordan Howden during the Colorado Minnesota NCAA football game on September 18, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

“First off, I would like to express my gratitude to the loving fanbase and coaches of Colorado,” Rice wrote on social media. “Since I committed, Buff nation has shown me nothing but love and support and for that I am forever grateful… This has been the hardest decision my family and I have endured. With that being said, I will be entering into the transfer portal. Thank you Colorado.”

Rice was CU’s most explosive player on offense this year, as well as on kickoff returns.

CU’s offense was abysmal for much of the year, but Rice caught 21 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns to lead all wide receivers. He was injured early in Game 11 and didn’t play in the finale.

Rice also finished the year with 469 yards on 17 kickoff returns, a 27.6-yard average that is the best by a CU returner since 1999. In addition, he had 54 rushing yards on six attempts.

As a true freshman in 2020, Rice averaged 26.4 yards per touch. He scored touchdowns on three of the nine plays he touched the ball. He caught six passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown and had two kickoff returns for 37 yards.

The son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, Brenden Rice was a four-star recruit who committed to CU in 2020 from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz.

Rice was one of the top players in the 2020 class put together by former CU head coach Mel Tucker. That class ranked sixth in the Pac-12 by and seventh by – the highest rankings for a CU class since the Buffs joined the Pac-12 in 2011.

With Rice leaving, the top four players from that 2020 class have now put their names in the portal. Last year, the No. 2 player in that class, defensive end Jason Harris, transferred to Arizona. This offseason, the No. 1 (Ashaad Clayton), No. 3 (Gonzalez) and No. 4 (Rice) players have left. Clayton has committed to Tulane.

Overall, seven of the 23 players from the 2020 class have put their names in the portal and another medically retired last year. Players can take their names out of the transfer portal and stay at their current school.

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