FOXBORO, Massachusetts (WKBN) - For the first time since 1998, a Youngstown State football player had his name called in the NFL Draft. Derek Rivers was the 22nd draft pick in Penguins' program history. Thursday, for the first time, the former Penguin set foot in his new home in the NFL.
From National Runner up at Youngstown State...to Super Bowl Champion in New England, Derek Rivers has gone from Penguin to Patriot. Today he was officially introduced with the rest of his draft class at Gillette Stadium. Selected in the third round (83rd overall) last Friday night, it's a homecoming of sorts for Rivers...who was born in Augusta, Maine. His mother's side of the family...all die-hard Patriot fans.
"Oh, my mom lost her mind. She was so excited, and everybody on that side of the family was excited," Rivers said. "My friends and family, they were all excited just coming to this first-class organization, man. I couldn't ask for anything better."
The defending World Champions are getting YSU's all-time sack leader with 41. He also tallied 56.5 TFLs and 173 tackles in 49 games played, and he is already well-versed in the NFL game from his time with the Penguins.
"Everything that we did at Youngstown prepared me for this moment here. I learned so much from Coach Bo (Pelini)...just culture, and doing all the little things right. I credit Bo for a lot of my successes. I love to pass-rush. That's my favorite thing is getting after the quarterback. I definitely bring that as long along with accountability and work ethic," he said.
Rivers also brings an eager anticipation of meeting his new teammate and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
"I'm gonna be starstruck," Rivers admitted. "I'm not gonna lie. I got to meet Luke Kuechly earlier in the year in Cincinnati and I was starstruck then. I can only imagine what it's gonna be like when I meet Brady. So, it'll be crazy. Man, I'm here. The road to get here is over with. Now it's time to focus on winning another Super Bowl."
VIDEO COURTESY: WBZ