This offseason has been a time of focus for Athens, Ala. quarterback Stephen Rivers. The 6-foot-6 signal-caller has been in the weight room and on the practice fields working on becoming a better football player and now with the start of spring practice, Rivers has the opportunity to put that hard work into action.
A versatile athlete, Rivers is a standout on the basketball court but put that sport aside as he focused in on developing physically for his senior football season. Already the work is paying dividends.
"This year I decided to quit basketball to stay down here in the weight room and I decided to dedicate the offseason to getting stronger and focusing on football and gaining weight," Rivers said. "I've put on 20 pounds since I stopped playing basketball and I'm up to 205 now."
The new weight and strength is making a difference in more than just Rivers' appearance.
"I can tell. I can throw the ball a little harder and I can carry myself a little better," he said. "Last year I wasn't too hard to bring down but now I'm a lot stronger."
Spring practice began for Athens on Monday and plenty of colleges have shown interest in coming by to check Rivers out. On Tuesday, Alabama, Mississippi State and his brother Phillip's alma mater of NC State have all come by to evaluate.
"Today was the first day the coaches came in and watched," he said on Tuesday. "I think Clemson is also coming tomorrow and a bunch more the rest of the spring."
While Rivers already holds numerous offers including tenders from Arizona State, NC State, Mississippi State, UCLA, Tennessee and Stanford, he expects even more to come in this spring. He's confident that his play will validate those offers - even if his focus remains on his team.
"This spring I'm all about my team first and I'm going to do whatever I need to do with them but hopefully in that process I can show the coaches what I do," he said. "So hopefully I can accomplish both."
Rivers doesn't have any favorites at the moment and has been excited to receive all of his seven offers. There are three more schools that he would like to add to his list though.
"I'd like Auburn, Clemson and Ole Miss," he said. "I have an open mind but those are three that I would hope are close to offering."
Though Rivers is in no rush to make a decision, when his decision does come there is one factor that presides.
"Probably the situation with the quarterback position," he said of the most important factor. "I don't necessarily want to play my true freshman year but pretty early in my college career I'd like to compete for a starting job somewhere."