Following in the footsteps of the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game is no easy task, but that’s the path that USC senior wide receiver Brenden Rice chose to take. 

After two seasons in Boulder with the Colorado Buffaloes, Jerry Rice’s son transferred to USC in 2022 to play for Lincoln Riley, who quickly added quarterback Caleb Williams to the roster after coaching him for one season at Oklahoma.

Brenden Rice runs off the field against Colorado

USC Trojans wide receiver Brenden Rice (2) runs off the field after a 48-40 win over Colorado at Folsom Field at the University of Colorado on September 30, 2023, in Boulder. (Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Through eight games of the 2023 college football season, Rice has 28 catches for 486 and eight touchdowns, which leads the team. 

“As a parent, you just sit back, and you try to be supportive,” Jerry Rice told Fox News Digital when asked about his son following in his footsteps on the football field. 

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“He’s always bragging to me about being bigger, faster and all of that,” he continued. “So, I have to hear that all the time, but he’s actually bigger and faster than me when I played the game. Just going there, supporting him, being there in the stands and watching him perform on the football field is really exciting. It’s one of those things where I knew that if he should follow in my footsteps, the pressure that would be put on him, and he was willing to take that on. And I think he’s doing a fantastic job.”

Rice has the good fortune of catching passes from Williams, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and likely No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, should he choose to leave school after his junior season.

Williams entered the year looking to become the first player since Archie Griffin to be a two-time winner of the Heisman. And while that is unlikely to happen after back-to-back losses against Notre Dame and Utah, Williams’ stats are still eye-popping.

Williams is second in the country in passing touchdowns (23) and has NFL scouts salivating over the thought of drafting him. 

Caleb Williams vs San Jose State

USC quarterback Caleb Williams throws a touchdown during the first half against San Jose State, Aug. 26, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

“Without a doubt, man,” Rice told Fox News Digital when asked if Williams is worthy of the hype that has been heaped on his shoulders. “His ability to maneuver out of the pocket, to keep his eyes downfield. … He has a very strong arm, and he’s going to create plays.”

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“And when you think about that, he’s very similar to a Patrick Mahomes. You can tell his coolness in the pocket and his creativity. I’m not sure if he’s going to decide to go to the NFL after this season – we have to wait and see – but he’s everything, and it’s just exciting to see him on the football field.”

USC entered the season as the No. 6 team in the country with an offense that many thought could be the best in the country. For the most part, USC’s offense has lived up to the hype, though they’ve tailed off the past two weeks.

It’s been the defense that has been the issue for the Trojans, allowing 407.6 yards per game, ninth in the Pac-12.

Jerry Rice attends a USC game

NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice attends the game between USC and Stanford at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 9, 2023. (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

Despite a disappointing two weeks for Williams and the Trojans, Jerry Rice will have at least four more opportunities to watch Williams at USC as they wrap up their 2023 regular season against Cal, Washington, Oregon and UCLA.

He’ll also have the chance to watch his son follow in his footsteps in more ways than one.

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Jerry and Brenden Rice have teamed up for their first co-marketing deal as the father and son spotlight the benefits and uses of Breathe Right nasal strips.

Jerry Rice was well-known for his use of the strips during his playing days, which his son has picked up along the way as Brenden recreated his father’s iconic Breathe Right ad from his days in the league.

“This is so exciting to me. I started Breathe Right nasal strips, I started using that back in the ’90s,” Rice told Fox News Digital. “And I got some of my teammates to do it. Then also, my son is wearing the Breathe Right, too, at USC. 

Jerry Rice during his playing days

Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers is shown during his last game as a 49er, which was against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Denver on Dec. 23, 2000. (Harry How/Allsport)

“I think the most important thing about Breathe Right is you can get more air to your lungs, and it’s going to help with your breathing,” he continued. “And it really helped me to be productive on the football field and off the football field. It’s all about adding this into your routine. I don’t care if it’s work, rest or play, it’s going to help you because if you have nasal congestion or something like that, it’s going to help you get more air into your body.”

The Trojans face Cal in Week 9 as they look to snap a two-game losing streak.

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