RECRUITING UPDATE: QB Stephen Rivers
BOWL PREVIEW: Rivers remains strong in commitment
Editor’s Note: The following appears in Tiger Rag’s annual Bowl Preview Edition, available now. Throughout the month of December, TigerRag.com will run a select group of columns and features from the issue. To purchase the 48-page full-color print edition, CLICK HERE for subscription information.
By RICHARD FISCHER
Tiger Rag Assistant Editor
Over the past couple weeks, news has surfaced of Zach Mettenberger’s commitment to LSU along with a Tiger offer to Haughton quarterback Dak Prescott, despite the fact that LSU already had a quarterback committed in its 2011 class - Stephen Rivers.
Some feared that LSU’s aggressive push for more arms would scare away the younger brother of the San Diego Chargers’ quarterback, but Rivers’ high school coach Allen Creasy said Rivers is still excited about LSU and is strong in his commitment.
“I don’t think that Stephen expected to go to LSU and not have to compete,” said Creasy. “I’ve seen no signs of that being a negative at all.”
The coach even added that the addition of Mettenberger could be a positive for Rivers’ development.
“It’s not a situation where he has to go in and compete with that player for his entire career,” said Creasy.
“He’s going to go in and hope to learn some things from [Mettenberger], and [Mettenberger] is going to have the opportunity to learn things from Stephen. Long story short, I think Stephen’s going to be excited about the fact that they’re going to have good players on that team, and they’ll have a chance to be successful.”
And if the Tigers bring in a high school quarterback in their 2011 class, Rivers will look at the competition as a challenge, not an obstacle.
“He didn’t make the decision [to commit to LSU] because he thought that was going to be an easy road,” said Creasy. “He made that decision because he felt it would be the best fit for him, and if there’s competition there, I know he’ll be excited about it.”
After throwing for 2,100 yards and 23 touchdowns against only seven interceptions in his junior season at Athens High School in Athens, Ala., Creasy said a young receiving corps coupled with a strong backfield caused him to change the play-calling to a more run-oriented style in Rivers’ senior season.
“We didn’t throw it quite as much as we have (in previous years), so his stats weren’t quite where they were as a junior, but he was very effective,” said Creasy.
This year, Rivers completed 94-of-150 passes for 1,158 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions, and the signal caller led the Golden Eagles to the second round of the playoffs in consecutive years.
Creasy feels that the change in offense has helped Rivers develop as a winning quarterback.
“Stephen has played on teams here where we threw the ball probably 70 percent, and he’s played on teams where we threw the ball 30 percent of the time,” said the coach. “The bottom line is if you’re throwing a lot and losing, it’s not very much fun, and you’re not going to be the player that you need to be. And if you’re throwing when your team needs to throw and wants to throw, your team is successful, and you’re winning. That’s going to be better.”
Rivers is playing basketball for Athens currently and will graduate at the tail end of the spring semester before heading to Baton Rouge for his college career.
Creasy said Rivers worked out intensely to get his body ready for college football up until the start of basketball season, but he expects Rivers to begin strength training again as soon as he’s done playing roundball for the Golden Eagles.
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