Auburn freshman tight end Landon Rice has left the program for “personal reasons”
Rice didn’t travel with the team to spend the night in Montgomery before its matchup against Arkansas St.
The publisher for the Auburn Rivals.com site Jay G. Tate first reported the news Friday night citing anonymous sources.
“Landon has left the team for personal reasons,” Malzahn said after a 51-14 win. “He’s got a great family. His brother still plays for us.”
Calls to his family for comment went unreturned.
The true freshman was the first person to commit in the Class of 2016 to Auburn as a sophomore in high school.
Schools from across the country tried to flip the four-star prospect, but he remained committed to Auburn throughout the entire process.
“He was flattered, but at the end of the day he always would tell them my heart says ‘War Eagle,’ ” Landon’s father, Joey Rice, said before the freshman enrolled in January.
The 6-foot-5, 253-pounder hoped to be a weapon for Auburn’s offense this season at the H-back position that hasn’t generated much production in recent years.
“When Landon committed, coach Malzahn told him he wanted him ready to hit the field when he got on campus and not think about redshirting,” Joey Rice said.
Auburn coaches praised Landon Rice throughout the spring into the fall.
“He brings a really different attitude to the game,” Auburn assistant Scott Fountain said. “He's a worker. He loves the game. He's the kind of guy you'd want to sign every year. I think coming from a background with his dad being a high school coach has really incorporated the type of personality he has.
As of 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Rice’s name remained on the team’s online roster.