A famous face made an appearance at Nebraska’s Wednesday practice when country singer-songwriter Chase Rice arrived. He came to practice with the framed Sam Foltz jersey he plans to auction off for Foltz’s chosen charity – the Grand Island Public School Foundation.
Auctioning off the jersey was the very least Rice felt he could do, as he plans to continue honoring Foltz after he was tragically lost in a car accident last summer. Considering Rice previously met Foltz, it’s especially dear to his heart.
“Well, I met Sam,” Rice said. “I was touring with Kenny Chesney in 2015, I think. We were playing in Lincoln and I was running around the field. I went over [to Memorial Stadium] to work out and I was running around the field when Sam came out and he said, ‘It is literally on my bucket list to kick to you. Can I punt to you?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, dude. I haven’t caught punts since college’ but he was kicking punts to me and I believe, yeah … I lost my touch with that. I was like, ‘Man, you’re booting these things over my head.’
“He was just a huge fan of mine and he was so cool the day I met him and when he died, it was a pretty sad deal for me to hear. He was an awesome guy.”
Rice looks back on the day he met and caught punts from Foltz fondly. He especially remembers his positive attitude and love for life.
“He was playful,” Rice said. “He was just having fun with it. He was pushing me. I didn’t catch punts in college. I was a lineman but he was one of the best punters in the country so when he’s punting to me, I kept thinking, ‘Dang, man. This is harder than I remember.’ In practice I used to mess around catching punts but he’s one of the best punters around so it was really cool. It was a really chill moment and he was having fun with it.”
While Rice was sad to hear about the loss of Foltz, he takes comfort in knowing the Huskers’ punter lived his life to the fullest.
“I’d say the biggest thing is how he lived from what I’ve heard from the players and from when I met him,” Rice said. “He got everything out of life when he was here. That’s really anything anyone can ask for out of life. While you’re here, live it up and I think that’s where you can take solace that he’s not around anymore that he got everything out of life while he was here.”
Rice’s auction runs until Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.