Keith Rivers came to USC with huge expectations. He was given the #55 before ever stepping foot on campus. He showed some flashes of his future ability as a freshmen, finishing with 25 tackles, three for loss, 2.5 sacks, and an interception backing up at outside linebacker, and playing end in passing situations. As a sophomore, he moved into the starting weakside spot, and came through with 52 tackles, three for loss, and a sack on the year. Rivers really started to live up to the hype as a junior, when he led the team in tackles with 85, 7.5 of them coming for loss. Prior to the 2007 season, he has been named to the Playboy All American team. Rivers was hindered near the end of the year with a severe ankle injury, but he still managed to be second on the team with 73 tackles, 4.5 for loss.
Rivers is an incredible athlete, with amazing speed for a linebacker. He can really close on the ball carrier, and could be a terror off the edge in pass rushing situations. He can chase plays down all over the field. He’s not just a weakside linebacker either, as he has had an impact playing with his hand down, rushing the QB.
Rivers has added some weight to his frame, which was the biggest knock on his game. He still needs to prove he can play in games at 240lbs, instead of the 230 he played at while at SC. He has been dinged up a little during his career, so there may be some durability concerns around him.
Keith Rivers steadily improved during his career and became one of the better linebackers in the country his last two seasons. His combination of physical skills and potential should lead him to hear his name called in the Top 20 of the draft.