Ga. DE Offered, Schedules Official

UNC assistant coach Tommy Thigpen stopped by Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove High School on Tuesday to acquire updated information on Gerald Rivers, a sleeper defensive end prospect. Apparently, he liked what he saw.

"He looked at my new highlight tape and my film from the all-star game we had down here, and he really liked it," Rivers said Tuesday evening. "So he decided to go ahead and try to get me up there [for an official visit]. He also offered today."

During various times throughout the recruiting process, Rivers, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end, has held scholarship offers from Arkansas, Kentucky, Marshall, Mississippi, Western Kentucky, and now UNC.

Rivers scheduled an official visit with Thigpen for this coming weekend. He has already taken official trips to Kentucky and Western Kentucky.

Mississippi has attempted to have Rivers officially visit Oxford during the final weekend before Signing Day. However, he's leaning towards not scheduling that trip, because he said he: "just can't see himself at Mississippi."

Thus, Rivers has narrowed his focus to the three schools that he has/will officially visit.

Surprisingly, the school that Rivers is favoring is the school he has yet to visit.

"Right now, [my leader is] probably the University of North Carolina," Rivers said. "I've always favored the University of North Carolina, but other schools came around [and offered]… I really like the University of North Carolina – it's a great school both education-wise and football-wise."

Rivers expects to be ready to make his college decision after visiting UNC – and possibly sooner.

"If I go up there and everything really seems like it feels right, I could [commit] – I don't know," Rivers said. "It's too early to say anything until I go up there and see it."

It wasn't until late in his senior season that UNC started to pursue Rivers.

"Around November – halfway through my season – my coach, Coach [Ray] Bonner, he knew some of the coaches up there," Rivers said. "So he got my name up there."

Thigpen began to recruit Rivers, but communication was "on and off" according to Rivers, until after the winter break.

"He was saying they are looking for a couple of good pass-rushing ends that they can get after the passer," Rivers said. "Go out there and do what they got to do. I told them I fit that profile – I love pass rushing."

After missing his entire junior season with an injury, Rivers had a breakout senior campaign recording 81 tackles, including nine sacks, forced two fumbles, and knocked down seven passes. His play earned him a selection to the DeKalb County Coaches Association All-Star Football Game.

"He runs a 4.55 40-yard dash," Bonner told the Lexington Herald Leader. "You can't grow them tall, and you can't make them run that fast. Once he gets somewhere and gets in the weight room and gets some coaching, he's going to be somebody's nightmare."

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