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October 8, 2003By now most folks who follow recruiting associate Lake Mary (Fla.) High School as the home of Keith Rivers. Win or lose, the one thing every fan wants to know is how Rivers played in the game. Well Lake Mary is off to a poor start on the year at 2-3, but thanks to Rivers, have been in all of the games until the bitter end.
Rivers dominates the defensive side of the ball and is a man among boys on the football field. Rivers has the nation on notice and fans from across the nation want to know where Rivers is going sign. If tomorrow were Signing Day, the lucky winners in the Keith Rivers sweepstakes would be the University of Southern California Trojans. But Signing Day is still months away.
For a long time now, Rivers has had USC atop his list followed by Florida, Miami and Oklahoma all standing on equal ground behind the Trojans. Rivers told InsidetheGators.net that the list really hasn't changed but added that two more teams are starting to creep into the picture.
"The list has remained pretty much the same," Rivers said. "I still like FSU as well and Nebraska is starting to come into the picture. I have been talking to Nebraska and it seems like their defensive coordinator is doing a real good job up there."
Whether Nebraska or any other team can unseat USC atop Rivers' list is going to be a tall order. Although many people think the reason why Rivers has USC so high is because he is a southern California native, but they would be mistaken. That has a little to do with it and Rivers gives the real reason behind why the Trojans lead.
"I got a chance to go out to the camp this summer and I really liked the program and coaches," Rivers said. "The reasons why they are up there so high is because I got to spend a lot of time out there and meet some of the players. I got to talk to the coaches for four days and I think that is the main reason why."
Besides camping at USC, Rivers also spent some time up in Gainesville for a camp in June.
"I had a chance to go to their camp," Rivers stated. "I hadn't had a chance to meet any of the players too much but as far as the coaches go, they have great coaches. Coach (Bill) Miller (linebackers coach) is an awesome coach.
"With all the schools the chance to play early and do something good (is what he's hearing). They are all pretty much the same, they all have good coaches and a chance to play early."
Wouldn't you know that Rivers wasn't the only high-profile linebacker at the Florida camp in June. Willie Williams from Miami (Fla.) Carol City High School was also in attendance for the camp and Rivers had a chance to meet the player who rivals him as Florida's best prospect.
"He is a pretty cool guy," Rivers said. "I met him at the Florida camp and he is a real good guy. Real nice guy."
Although he has not set up an official visits yet, Rivers had made it to some campuses unofficially this year to take in a few games. Rivers went to Miami to watch the Hurricanes storm back against the Gators and then saw Tennessee came to The Swamp and beat the Gators on a sweltering hot day.
"Florida has a real good defense and are an up-and-coming team - they just need a few more players to be able to rotate in and keep the same level of play," Rivers said about the Gators' performance that day.
As far the game down in Miami, Rivers had this to say about his experience:
"It was a pretty good game. I didn't enjoy the trip too much but the game was real good. Nice atmosphere."
As far as the Florida schools go for official visits, Rivers plans on officially visiting Florida and Florida State. At the time he has no intentions of visiting Miami again. Rivers also added a "definite" when asked if he was going to officially visit USC and then added that Oklahoma was also in line to get an official visit.
The plan is for his official visits to come after the Lake Mary season concludes and his commitment to come at that time as well.
"I really want to get a chance to see every school," Rivers said. "I plan on doing it on Signing Day but I could go on an unofficial visit and make a commitment."
Being the No. 3 recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com and the top inside linebacker, one would gather that Rivers is swarmed with phone calls. But recently that hasn't been the theme.
"I have kind of made a list of schools that I was interested in and those are the schools that mainly call," Rivers said. "I don't get too many calls from other schools anymore."
Well what about being one of the nation's best recruits? All eyes are on Rivers and he is absolutely loving it.
"It feels pretty good but you still have to go out there and do what you have to do," Rivers said. "I have to continue to keep working hard."
One thing you cannot overlook when Rivers is on the field is his presence. He is always around the ball when it is in play. Lake Mary uses Rivers in coverage situations all the time and you rarely see Rivers on the blitz.
"Yeah I would like to blitz more because you don't have as much responsibilities," Rivers added. "You are sent in there to make something happen. I don't really mind it too much playing coverage. I am probably going to have to do more coverage on the next level anyways."
Rivers also is called on to play offense here and there. But if you think Rivers is going to turn into an offensive weapon on the next level, think again. His love is defense and he plays it extremely well.
"I do it (play offense) to help out the team as much as I can," Rivers said.
Rivers plans on going to the Miami-FSU and FSU-UF games on unofficial trips in the upcoming weeks. From there he will start to put things into order. Until then, teams will continue to try and lure Rivers to their program.
"I think the deciding factor will be how I get along with my future teammates and stuff like that," Rivers said.
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