Many would describe the play of five-star linebacker Keith Rivers as fearless. That is not true, though. He does have one fear that keeps him up at night, one recurring nightmare that he cannot stop.
“My biggest fear in football is fumbling the ball,” said Rivers, the 6-foot-4, 213-pound five-star linebacker from Lake Mary, Fla. “It comes from my days playing running back. I couldn’t hold on to the ball, so they sent me to linebacker. I like linebacker better now anyways.
“I remember last year I played a little tight end, and I caught one pass for 16 yards. The whole way I was thinking: ‘Don’t fumble.’ In fact, whenever I was in the game, I was hoping that the quarterback wouldn’t throw me the ball.”
Rivers is dynamite in run support, and his athleticism makes him an asset in pass coverage, but with two career interceptions, it makes one wonder, what is so hard about catching the ball?
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “The other players make fun of me because I have such big hands and I can’t hold on to the ball.”
Even though Rivers can laugh at himself, his high school opponents do not think he is funny.
They are just frightened of him. If you have never seen a linebacker get triple teamed, just go to a Lake Mary game.
“It was pretty ridiculous last year,” he said. “They would double and triple team me all year. My sophomore year, I was free to make more plays, but last year, I was only getting like 16 tackle games because of all the blockers.
“I know that the other teams are a little afraid of me. They come at me tentatively. I hear people saying stuff about how other teams are scared when I’m out there.”
The Rivers highlight reel contains many big plays, but he says that his favorite play comes from his sophomore year.
“My favorite play would have to be a fourth down stop that I made on a fullback,” he said. “The guy weighed about 250, and I met him in the hole on fourth and inches. It was an important game, and an important situation. That is why I like that one the best.”
But there is no questioning his ability as a linebacker.
“I would say that I am more of a sideline to sideline type linebacker,” he said. “I really like attacking the line, but our scheme calls for me to chase plays sideline to sideline. I love to blitz though. I don’t have to worry about responsibilities or anything. I just put my crosshairs on the ball.”
As for recruiting, do not expect any highlights any time soon. Rivers said that his mind is far from made up, and that much will come down to this fall, and the winter’s visiting period.
“I am not even close to making up my mind,” he said. “I think that I like USC right now. They had great people and everything, but I want to see what happens with my visits this winter. I will wait until after I have made visits to make up my mind. That will not be until after football season.”
The Rivers watch will continue until this ultra talented linebacker signs on a dotted line somewhere next February. So Gators, Hurricanes, Sooners, Trojans and Seminoles need to keep it tuned to Rivals100.