Chandler Rivers is a 5’11, 175 lb cornerback/safety for the Beaumont United Timberwolves in Beaumont Texas. As a rising junior and a second year Timberwolf, Rivers is looking to make a name for himself and solidify his position as a speedy, instinctive, and ball hogging playmaker in the secondary. With 11 interceptions (6 of those being pick sixes), Rivers has proven he has the talent to lock down any receiver who crosses his path and make him pay for it. With his 4.4 speed, Rivers has the ability to come off the receiver and fly towards the ball carrier during run plays, effectively holding the edge on his respective side of the field. Not to mention how said speed helps Rivers take it the distance. Rivers’ vision, patience and instincts defensively are unparalleled, allowing him to cover the entirety of opposing teams WR depth chart. With a 3.7 GPA and a National Honor Society Inductee, Chandler Rivers has built a promising future for himself. The sky’s the limit for this young man. I had a chance to speak with Rivers about his background as well as his professional and collegiate future.
How did your career in football begin?
I started playing football at the age of 6. I started out playing for the local Salvation Army. Going into middle school, I was initially playing at a public school, Odom, and then transferred to a private school in 7th grade at Legacy Christian Academy. Going into high school I was still at Legacy. However, going into tenth grade I transferred to the school that I am at now which is Beaumont United.
What attracted you to the defensive side of the ball?
Well funny enough, I initially did not want to play on the defensive side of the ball. I liked offense because naturally, I wanted to score. However, once I got into high school, I realized everybody wanted to play offense and no one wanted to play defense. So I played defense my freshman year and I liked it. Playing offense all my life really gave me an edge on the defensive side. Understanding concepts, diagnosing plays faster and being able to react quicker are all assets I’ve been able to add to my game defensively just from playing offense in the past.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve discovered in playing your position and how specifically have you attacked that challenge?
The hardest part is having to essentially play backwards. Having milliseconds to react and knowing when to react is also challenging. The way I have attacked that challenge is reaction drills. I try to stay away from movement drills and focus on hip flipping and reactionary drills.
Between your two positions (Safety and Corner) which is your favorite position?
I like corner, but I like safety better because you get more action and freedom. Say for instance you’re on the left side of the field playing corner but the whole game they are throwing right side, it’s going to be a boring game for you. At safety, you are always in the action.
What is the biggest life challenge that you have had to overcome so far?
I’ve lost a couple family members. So I use that to fuel myself and my game.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
The most influential person in my life is my dad. He does everything for me. If I need it, I have it. If I need to go to a camp, he’s gonna get me there. Anything I need he will provide for me.
Did your dad play football?
Actually, my dad played minor league baseball which is the sport he initially wanted me to choose. I wasn’t really feelin’ baseball at the time and swayed more towards football. His support never wavered. Regardless of my decision, he still respected and supported me. He also hooked me up with some good trainers.
What is the atmosphere like for you in Beaumont on Friday nights. I know Texas has a seething passion for high school football. What is it like to be under that spotlight?
It’s absolutely crazy. Obviously we have local rivalries like Beaumont Westbrook and for those games, we have about 20 thousand people in the stands screaming and shouting the whole game.
Out of the past two years of you playing football, what has been your most fondest memory on the Gridiron?
My freshman year at Legacy we were playing West Sabine. We were down 7-34 at halftime. We were all dead and had no hope. Our coaches came in and gave us a pep talk. I don’t know what happened, but something just sparked. We came out the second half and came back. It was slow but we inched our way to a 48-48 tie. With 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter we had the ball and needed to get 80 yards to get into field goal range. We went 80 yards in a minute and 30 seconds. With 30 seconds left we kneel and wait till there is 4 seconds left. At the time I was the holder so I was already pressured enough. Keep in mind this was a muddy game but anyway, I received the snap and ended up mishandling it. So I had to scoop it up, I ran towards the edge and ended up scoring the game winning touchdown at the buzzer.
If football after college doesn’t pan out for you, what career would you like to pursue?
I wanna study sports medicine. I love sports so naturally I wanna have a sports business. Whether that be training, sports performance..something along those lines. I want to work for myself and not have to call to anyone or adhere to anyone’s rules outside of my own. I just wanna work hard and build my business and myself.
What words or what message would you like to convey to America as a whole right now in the state that it’s in?
Stay safe and realize you have freedom of speech in the USA. So, don’t be afraid to speak up and express how you really feel.