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2022 Miami Hurricanes player preview: Jalen Rivers

The blue chip offensive guard missed time in ‘21 with a knee injury, but should be 100% by Week One of the ‘22 season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Virginia at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jalen Rivers is a former four-star offensive lineman out of Oak Leaf High School in Jacksonville, FL. Rivers, a six-foot-five, 325 pound athletic big man, earned immediate playing time with the Miami Hurricanes in 2020. Rivers saw action in seven games as a true freshman, and started three games as a second year freshman before suffering a season ending knee injury.

When Rivers was in the lineup, Miami center Jakai Clark and tackle Zion Nelson looked much improved than after his replacement. Before the injury, Rivers had NFL potential athleticism and hopefully he can regain his former ability this fall.

Rivers did an excellent job at left guard in 2021 and I expect him to regain his starting spot next to Nelson and Clark for ‘22. Coach Mirabal likes tall, lean, athletic big men and Rivers fits that mold, even at 325 pounds.

Above- Also, he’s a high Football IQ player as you can see in the clip above. Rivers passes off twists and stunts like a junior or senior lineman.

Back during his recruitment and signing, I was very high on Rivers potential on the O-Line. After trading commentary with some posters, I actually started the recruiting series “What college coaches look for...” for each position group. The offensive line edition (click to read) featured Rivers’ junior film up against Issiah Walker’s senior film.

Fergus Connolly

Rivers’ strengths are all over the Four-Coactive Model from Fergus Connolly. Rivers came to Miami with technical acumen by playing at Oak Leaf HS, where the coaching staff seems to produce ‘college ready’ players like former Miami linebacker and freshman starter Shaq Quarterman and Rivers.

His psychological strength will be under more stress now that he’s been injured and had surgery. Injuries and surgery take their toll on everyone, but especially athletes. He was psychologically prepared heading into this, I think his Mental Toughness when it comes to American football will continue in ‘22.

Physically, Rivers was obviously good to go. Back in the previously mentioned, “What college coaches look for” piece, Rivers had the needed strength, stability, and flexibility to play college offensive line.

Tactically, he seemed to understand the scheme better than more veteran players. Some of that comes from his own intelligence, some from his Football IQ that was groomed at Oak Leaf, and some from former O-Line coach Garin Justice.

Prediction: Rivers will start every game this season for the Miami Hurricanes and will make the All-ACC team in some capacity. He was a dominant guard before his injury and will return to form in ‘22.