WAYNE – William Paterson University wide receiver Joel Rivera (Hoboken) will try out for the NFL’s New York Jets when the team conducts its Rookie Minicamp starting Friday, April 30.
Rivera, who completed his college career as a Pioneer this past fall, was named to the All-New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) First Team for the second straight year after starting all 10 games during the 2009 season and catching 51 passes for 751 yards and nine touchdowns. Rivera owns the program’s career receptions (159), yardage (2,209) and touchdowns (23) records, the single-season catches (74, 2008) and yardage (965, 2008) top marks, and the single-game receptions (16, 9/27/08 at Rowan) and yardage (226, 9/27/08 at Rowan) records after starting in 29 of 36 career games.
Invited to play in the 2009 Tazon de Estrellas (Bowl of the Stars) and the Division III Football Senior Classic All-Star Games, he ranked third this past fall in the NJAC in receptions/game (5.1) and receiving yards/game (75.1), sixth in all-purpose yardage (95.9 yards/game), tied for eighth in scoring/TDs (5.4 points/game), and tied for 11th in scoring (5.4 points/game).
Rivera established new school records with his 74 catches and 965 receiving yards during the 2008 campaign, earning spots on the D3Football.com All-East Region Second Team and the All-NJAC First Team. He also caught seven touchdown passes and returned eight kickoffs for 158 yards (19.8 yards/return) as a junior, and ranked first in both receiving yards/game (96.5, 30th in Division III) and receptions/game (7.4, 16th in NCAA), and seventh in all-purpose yardage (114.3 yards/game), in the NJAC.
Rivera had a breakout season as a sophomore, leading the Pioneers with 33 catches, 493 yards and seven touchdowns in nine starts. He was fifth in the NJAC in receptions/game (3.67), sixth in receiving yards/game (54.8) and seventh in scoring/TDs (4.7 points/game). Rivera saw action in seven games as a freshman, primarily contributing on special teams, during the 2006 season.
Rivera played professional baseball in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization after being selected in the 15th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft out of Hoboken High School. After spending two years in the minors, he elected to attend college, and walked on to the William Paterson football team in 2006 after not playing the sport since early in his scholastic career.
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