Georgia has turned its fortunes in defensive line recruiting. The addition of four-star defensive end Chauncey Rivers out of Stephenson High School to the class of 2015 makes the eighth defensive lineman for the Bulldogs, six of which are ranked four stars or higher by 247Sports composite rankings.
Strengths: It’s easy to see why Rivers is a four-star player on film. The first thing that stands out is his versatility. He has the ability to stand up and play as an outside linebacker or put his hand in the dirt as a defensive end. This versatility fits into defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s scheme nicely. He’s also capable of being a three-down player. He has an above average rip-and-spin move, which helps him get to the quarterback, but he also has the instincts and anticipation to hold his assignment against the run game. As a result, Rivers can set the edge against the run game, which Georgia struggled with in some games last season. Finally, Rivers showed the instinct in the pass game to bail out on the rush and get his hands in the air to swat the ball, which netted him an interception and a handful of pass breakups.
Weaknesses: The only real technique flaw in Rivers’ game is that he is occasionally slow off the snap, but that’s splitting hairs. The weakness in Rivers' game is his size. At 6-foot-33, 247 pounds, he’s a good size for a 4-3 defensive end. However, Pruitt runs a multiple defense with a lot of 3-4 — to compare, Georgia’s smallest defensive end returning is listed at 266 pounds. To put his hand in the dirt, Rivers is going to have to put on some weight. The alternative is that he could play outside linebacker primarily, but he’s probably a little heavy to play that position in Pruitt’s scheme and there’s already a logjam at that position with Lorenzo Carter, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd.
Bottom Line: Rivers has the potential to be a difference maker on the Georgia defense. The depth of the recruiting class also gives him the option to redshirt and take a year to put on some weight. Rivers could be as good as St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn when it’s all said and done.