Nearly a month into the season and the teams and performers are full tilt…
Potentially one of the most under-appreciated players in the state of Colorado is Horizon athlete Dustin Rivas. An All-State caliber player as a receiver, defensive back and returner, Rivas last season had 27 catches for nine scores, averaging 24 yards a catch to go with six interceptions on defense. This season, Rivas has already picked up 27 catches, scored eight times and is again averaging 24 yards per reception. On defense Rivas has three picks. Last night, in a win over conference opponent Rocky Mountain, Rivas had two touchdown catches. Even with numbers like this and the consistency of strong production over a multiyear period Rivas, a student of the game states, "I have things to work on to improve."
A look at Rivas' film shows a player who has successfully worked out wide using his quickness to make big plays against opposing defenders. As good as Rivas is at making the big play, potentially his best college position is slot receiver playing in a spread offense. A very smart player, Rivas could, from the slot, work zones and seams to make catches. Further, Rivas has a great set of hands and looks very comfortable making catches in traffic. Also, Rivas is very shifty and rarely gets tackled by the first defender, short passes could become big plays.
Rivas, who would like the opportunity to play DI ball, may be hindered by his 5-11 166 pound size as DIs are on the lookout for 6-3 220 pounders to catch the ball. Currently Rivas says DII schools Western State, Sioux Falls and Fort Hays are showing the most interest. Rivas has also spoken with Northern Colorado receivers coach Keith Grable (A Horizon grad).
Rivas, who is also a very good punt returner potentially could contribute early to a program as a special team's player. Although playing DI is Rivas' goal and his skill set may allow him to do that, he could impact a DII program early and have significant success as a slot.