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Derek Rivers





Youngstown State

Derek Rivers was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. 


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Derek Rivers was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.


  • Was a two-time All-American and three-time first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection.
  • Finished career with 173 career tackles (119 solo), 56.5 tackles for loss, 41 sacks, 47 QB pressures, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one pass defensed in 49 games (37 starts).
  • Set school record 41 sacks and ranks top five in FCS history.


2016 - Senior Year

  • Started all 16 games and compiled 58 tackles, 19½ tackles for loss, 15 sacks, 21 QB pressures, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries for a team that reached the Division I National Championship Game.
  • Served as a team captain and was named YSU Scholar Athlete of the Year.
  • Was a second-team All-America selection by Associated Press and first-team All MVFC selection for the third consecutive season.
  • Registered multiple sacks in four games:
    • 2 vs. Duquesne (9/1)
    • 3 at Illinois State (10/10)
    • 2 vs. South Dakota (10/17)
    • 2 at Eastern Washington (12/17)
  • Posted a season-high seven tackles at Southern Illinois (10/24).

2015 - Junior Year

  • Was third-Team All-America selection by STATS and a first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection for the second straight season. 
  • Played in all 11 contests with 10 starts and posted 52 total tackles, including 38 solo stops, 15.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 13 quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.
  • Notched a season-best nine tackles (4.5 TFLs), including two sacks vs. Robert Morris (9/12).
  • Had five tackles, including three TFLs and two sacks against South Dakota State (10/17).

2014 - Sophomore Year

  • Was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference.
  • Played in all 12 games and made 11 starts at defensive end and finished with 50 total tackles, 17 TFLs and 14 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
  • Notched four tackles and two sacks vs. Saint Francis (9/20).
  • Posted a season-high eight tackles and three sacks at South Dakota State (10/24).
  • Had six tackles and a season-high four sacks vs. South Dakota (11/1).

2013 - Freshman Year

  • Played in 10 games as a defensive end reserve and was credited with 13 tackles, three sacks and three quarterback pressures.
  • Posted three tackles and his first collegiate sack vs. Duquesne (9/21).
  • Notched an 8-yard sack at Indiana State (10/5).
  • Picked his third sack of the season vs. Illinois State (10/12).


  • Played linebacker and tight end at Kinston. Was an all-conference selection on defense.
  • Also played basketball. As a senior, Vikings were 26-4 and won the NCHSAA 2A Championship by defeating Waxhaw Cuthbertson, 58-55 in the finals.
  • Parents are John Rivers and Mary Leinonen.
  • Majored in business at Youngstown State.


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