Their competitive nature and a craving for the big play made them a mainstay on the football field at Dublin Scioto High School.

Their competitive nature and a craving for the big play made them a mainstay on the football field at Dublin Scioto High School.

Teammates wanted to be around them, and brothers Jason and Taylor Rice are the type of players who live for the game and love nothing more than winning.

That gung-ho side might come from growing up in a family of five brothers and two sisters.

"Everything I did was always against my brothers," Taylor Rice said. "For all of us, it's been about becoming the best that we can be. It all started with my dad who was an unbelievable pole vaulter. I'm always trying to follow in their footsteps."

It wasn't too surprising when the brothers decided to pursue an even bigger stage at the next level. Both turned down scholarship offers to play for small-college programs and decided to prove their worth as walk-ons.

Next month, Jason Rice (5-foot-11, 186 pound sophomore) will head into camp at Bowling Green State University on scholarship and fight for a starting spot at running back or defensive back.

Taylor Rice (5-11, 171 redshirt freshman) is developing at defensive back and hopes to earn a spot on special teams at Ohio State.

"They both wanted to play Division I," Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "As a coach, you believe they are good enough to be a Division I guy. They ended up not getting the offer they were looking for, but they felt like they could compete at that level and they went for it."

The brothers understood as walk-ons they would have to take advantage of every opportunity.

It began with misfortune for Jason Rice, who tore his left ACL during the Central Ohio All-Star Game that followed his senior season when he rushed for more than 1,200 yards in 2005.

He would have to wait another year.

Jason Rice spent that fall on the sidelines as a volunteer coach at Scioto, where he watched his younger brother lead the Irish offense with 1,333 all-purpose yards as a junior.

On Saturdays, he watched his older brother, Nick, play in his senior season at Ohio Wesleyan.

Following surgery and months of rehabilitation, he joined the Falcons in 2007. His opportunity came last year when he played in 10 games, making two starts, and saw his first action on offense against Kent State.

He carried the ball eight times for 91 yards and a touchdown (a 34-yard run up the middle) and completed a half-back pass for 42 yards in the 45-20 victory over Kent State. He was the star of the game.

"My brothers and everybody would call me every week saying this is the week," Jason Rice said. "I just kept waiting and waiting for the opportunity and I knew I wasn't going to mess it up."

Two games later, with a trip to the Mid-American Conference championship on the line, he was starting at running back against Buffalo.

During his first carry, he felt that terrible pain again. This time, it was his right knee.

There would be another surgery and more rehab, but there never was any doubt about trying to make another comeback.

"I've had people call me and tell me I'm crazy to keep going back, but I just keep telling them it's for the game," Jason Rice said. "I had to miss all of spring ball, but I'm feeling good and the doctors are confident I'll be ready to go in August."

During his senior season at Scioto, Taylor Rice missed four games with a broken arm. The Irish finished at 6-4 overall in 2007 and were 1-3 without Rice on the field.

His older brother was on the telephone offering plenty of reassurance that there would be more opportunities to come.

For now, it's all about waiting for the next one.

"I'm not out there to be a practice dummy," Taylor Rice said. "A lot of guys are just happy with wearing the Buckeye uniform and getting to run into Ohio Stadium. That's all great, but I've seen what Jason was able to do and now I'm going to do the same."