The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

March 12, 2014

Rivers wading through transfer options from LSU

Former Athens High star searching for a ‘pro-style offense,’ says his former prep coach

Former Athens High School star quarterback Stephen Rivers still is evaluating his transfer options from LSU after three years on the Bayou, according to multiple reports and the school’s athletic department.

Rivers, 21, is a rising redshirt junior and expected to graduate in May with a marketing degree from LSU. He has two years of remaining eligibility but has not announced which schools are on his radar. He will not have to sit out a year since he will be entering graduate studies.

“That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?” said Athens coach Allen Creasy, who communicates regularly with Stephen and his older brother, San Diego Chargers quarterback and Athens alum Philip Rivers.

“As far as I know, Stephen’s just going and looking at other schools, and he has the opportunity to go and watch teams practice,” Creasy said on Tuesday. “He has until May and he’s not in a rush to make a decision. He wants to make sure he gets the right fit ... wherever he goes, it’s going to be pro-style offense.”

Creasy said Philip, who played four years at N.C. State and has access to the Chargers’ information about college programs, is taking a lead role in helping his brother find a new team.

“As soon as this all this started happening, he called and let me know but I don’t want to get too involved to the point where i get in the way,” he said. “I think Philip is leading (the evaluation process) and taking a pretty active role.”

Stephen, nicknamed “Moon” by one of his LSU offensive coaches, played in four games with the Tigers as a redshirt freshman and spent the 2013 season as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

“It's hard, but it's a good thing at the same time,” he said during an informal LSU press conference in February. "I want to get on the field and play, which I haven't done much since high school except for a few snaps here and there.”

Super Bowl-winning Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, 23, is one of the most famous examples of a transfer finding success at another school. Wilson, a third-round draft choice by the Seahawks, finished his undergraduate degree at N.C. State before leading Wisconsin to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl victory.

Creasy said Stephen, who is nearly 6-foot-8-inches tall and 240 pounds, was nearly the same height but weighed only 189 pounds as a lanky high school senior.

“The most noticeable difference is his size now, and there’s a big difference in his durability,” he said. “He has increased his strength throwing the ball — he’s able to throw the ball better downfield, and he’s always been extremely accurate.”

Creasy said Rivers is parting ways with the Bengal Tigers on good terms and has the advantage of developing his skills with a top 25 SEC program.

“Not many people can say they spent three years practicing and playing with one of the best college football programs in the country,” he said. “He’s sat and waited his turn, and the LSU coaches have nothing but good things to say about him. They’re just moving in another direction at quarterback, and he’s making the best out of the situation.”

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