KU Linebackers Holt And Rivera Sign NFL Free Agent Contracts

April 26, 2009

Kansas linebackers James Holt and Mike Rivera signed NFL free agent contracts Sunday night. Holt, signed with the San Diego Chargers, while Rivera signed with the Chicago Bears. Holt was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2008, while Rivera earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors for the third straight season.

James Holt

Linebacker – 6-3 – 226

Altus, Okla. (Altus HS)

Career Honors: 2008: All-Big 12 Second Team (Coaches), All-Big 12 First Team (Associated Press), Insight Bowl Defensive MVP, KU Willie Pless Tackle Award, KU Defensive Player of the Year, KU Defensive Player of the Week (vs. Kansas State and vs. Nebraska); 2007: All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Coaches), KU co-Defensive Player of the Week (vs. Central Michigan and vs. Colorado).

2008 (Sr.): Led the team in tackles with 105, tackles for loss with 19.5, sacks with 10, forced fumbles with six and tied for the lead with two fumble recoveries… Nationally he ranked third in forced fumbles (0.46 per game), tied for 11th in tackles for loss (1.50), tied for 21st in sacks (0.77) and tied for 77th in tackles (8.08)… Recorded a sack in each of the last six games… had three sacks in the Insight Bowl vs. Minnesota, where he was named the game’s defensive MVP… Recorded five games with at least 10 tackles, including 13 stops at South Florida and vs. Texas Tech… had 11 tackles at Oklahoma and vs. Texas… Made 10 stops against Colorado… Had an interception at Nebraska…. Competed in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game after the season.

2007 (Jr.): Ranked 11th in the Big 12 in tackles per game (7.62)… Ranked sixth in the Big 12 and tied for 90th in the NCAA in tackles for loss per game (1.00)… Started all 13 games at one of the outside linebacker positions… Finished second on the team in tackles with 99… His 13 tackles for loss were also second on the team… Had two sacks and broke up four passes on the season… Had three double-figure tackle games with 15 at Colorado, 13 vs. Missouri and 10 at Texas A&M… Was the only player on the team to record at least five tackles in every game… His two sacks came in the final two games vs. Missouri and vs. Virginia Tech… Had three passes broken up against Nebraska.

2006 (So.): Played in eight games and made three starts… Collected 29 total tackles including 20 solo stops… Had two tackles-for-loss and was a part of two pass break-ups… Forced one quarterback hurry… Posted eight tackles against Texas A&M, including five solo tackles… Had three or more stops in six of eight games.

2005 (Fr.): Saw action in all 12 games… One of three true freshmen to play for the Jayhawks… Ended the season with six total tackles… A standout on several of KU’s special teams.

High School: Garnered All-State honors and was named the District I Offensive Player of the Year in 2004… Named to the All-Area team after his junior and senior seasons… Earned varsity letters in football, basketball and track for the Bulldogs… Coached in football by Jim Holloway… Helped the track team to a 5A state championship as a junior… A member of the school’s academic honor roll.

Personal: Born in Altus, Okla… Is a history major… Would like to travel to Europe… Main hobby is cooking… Can play the guitar and the piano… Son of Valerie Holt… Has one sister… Father, Steve McKeaver, played football at Oklahoma and for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Favorites: Place to eat in Lawrence – Braum’s (if we had one); Place to play football – Memorial Stadium; Activity other than football – Tennis, golf, Frisbee, soccer; Athlete – Walter Payton; Pregame ritual – Music, relax and crack jokes with (Joe) Mortensen and (Mike) Rivera; Football memory – Beating Nebraska by 50; Thing about your team – They are a bunch of guys you can depend on

Defense G UT AT Total TFL Sacks PBU INT FR FF

2005 12 3 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0

2006 8 20 9 29 2-6 0 2 0 0 0

2007 13 51 48 99 13-56 2-10 4 0 0 0

2008 13 58 47 105 19.5-112 10-92 2 1-5 2-0 6

Totals 46 132 107 239 34.5-174 12-102 4 1-5 2-0 6

Mike Rivera

Linebacker – 6-3 – 255

Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Shawnee Mission NW HS)

Career Honors: 2008: Wuerfful Trophy Finalist, Draddy Semifinalist, Bednarik Watch List, All-Big 12 Honorable Mention; Academic All-Big 12 First Team, AFCA Good Works Team nominee, KU Service Award. 2007: Butkus Award Watch List, All-Big 12 Third Team (Phil Steele), All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Coaches), Academic All-Big 12 First Team, KU Community Service Award. 2006: All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Coaches, Associated Press), Academic All-Big 12 Second Team, KU co-Defensive Player of the Week (vs. Florida International and vs. Baylor), KU Community Service Award. 2004: KU Scout Player of the Week (vs. Iowa State).

2007 (Sr.): Was third on the team with 93 tackles… Also had eight tackles for loss, including two sacks.. Broke up four passes, forced four fumbles and recovered two fumbles… Recorded three double-digit tackle games including a career high 14 vs. Minnesota in the Insight Bowl… Also had 13 stops vs. Texas Tech and 10 vs. Texas.

2007 (Jr.): Ranked 14th in the Big 12 in tackles per game (7.38)… Tied for 15th in the league in tackles for loss per game (0.81)… Moved to outside linebacker after starting at middle linebacker in 2006… Started all 13 games… Recorded 96 tackles to rank third on the team… Had 10.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks, which tied for second on the team… Sacks came against Southeastern Louisiana, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech… Was involved in five turnovers on the year, as he had an interception against Nebraska, forced two fumbles (vs. Nebraska and vs. Missouri) and recovered two fumbles (both against Florida International)… His seven passes broken up were third on the team… Had double-digit tackle totals in three different games, including each of the last two contests… Had 14 stops vs. Missouri and 12 vs. Virginia Tech… Also had 10 at Texas A&M… Recorded at least five tackles in 11 of 13 games.

2006 (So.): Started all 12 games of the season at middle linebacker… Earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors from the league’s head coaches and from the Associated Press… Named KU’s Willie Pless award winner after leading the Jayhawks with 90 total tackles… Finished third on the club with 7.5 tackles-for-loss… Ended the season with 1.5 quarterback sacks and a team-best eight QB hurries… Forced a fumble against Iowa State… Posted three double-digit tackling performances… Collected six or more tackles in 10 of KU’s 12 games… An academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection… A team captain… Was the inaugural winner of the team’s Galen Fiss award for campus and community service.

2005 (Fr.): Saw action in all 12 games as a backup linebacker and special teams standout… Tallied 20 total tackles including 11 solo stops… Forced one QB hurry.

2004 (RS): Redshirted… Practiced with the scout team defense… Chosen by the coaching staff as the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week vs. Iowa State.

High School: Rated the 23rd-best inside linebacking prospect in the nation by Rivals.com… Named the Sun Country Defensive Player of the Year… Earned All-Sunflower League First Team and All-Johnson County First-Team honors as a linebacker… Recorded 149 tackles as a senior and 125 during his junior season… Was a finalist for the prestigious Buck Buchanan award… An All-Conference honorable mention tight end on the offensive side of the ball… Coached by Scott Diebold… Lettered three years in football and track for the Cougars.

Personal: Born in Shawnee, Kan… A communications studies major, working on a master’s in sports management… Would like to travel the world… Hobbies include snorkeling, fishing and cooking chicken… Son of Mike and Judy Rivera… Has one brother and two sisters… Father wrestled and played football at Central Missouri.

Favorites: Place to eat in Lawrence – Burge Union; Place to play football – Kivisto Field; Activity other than football – Soccer; Athlete – Kimbo Slice; Pregame ritual – Go out on the field early with the other linebackers so we can stretch and throw the ball around; Football memory – Any memory from here; Thing about your team – We are a bunch of regular guys that enjoy working hard and paying the price for success

Defense G UT AT Total TFL Sacks INT PBU FF FR

2004 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

2005 12 11 9 20 0 0 0 0 0 0

2006 12 66 24 90 7.5-29 1.5-15 0 5 1 0

2007 13 39 57 96 10.5-42 3-17 1-3 7 2 2-0

2008 13 50 43 93 8-29 2-18 0 4 4 2-0

Totals 51 167 133 300 26-100 6.5-50 1-3 16 7 4-0