Vanderbilt's ongoing quarterback competition just got much more interesting.
Former LSU quarterback Stephen Rivers will join Patton Robinette and Johnny McCrary in what appears to be at least a three-man race for the starting job.
The university announced Wednesday the addition of the former Tigers quarterback, ending weeks of speculation that he would choose Vanderbilt for graduate school after completing his undergraduate work at LSU last month.
Fresh off receiving his college degree and getting married in May, Rivers will spend the summer learning new offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell's playbook and beginning his postgraduate work at Vanderbilt's Divinity School. He has two years of eligibility remaining and is eligible immediately because he has graduated.
Rivers is likely a step behind McCrary and Robinette, but he could quickly erase that deficit with a strong summer of study.
Coach Derek Mason could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but he did issue a statement:
"I'm happy for Stephen and looking forward to having him join our program. Stephen brings both ability and experience to our team. He also fits the offensive system we will run under Karl Dorrell. We're going to see great competition at the quarterback position this August."
The younger brother of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Stephen comes to the Commodores as a bit of a mystery.
He attempted just two passes during his three years in Baton Rouge. And with Tigers practices closed to the media, there was little opportunity for analysis of how he fared in comparison to LSU starter Zach Mettenberger, who is now with the Titans, over the past two seasons.
Rivers was not in line to see playing time at LSU this season. He was not available for comment on Wednesday.
After serving as the No. 2 quarterback in 2012, he was passed on the depth chart in the spring of 2013 by freshman Anthony Jennings and by January enrollee Brandon Harris this spring.
The last significant playing time for the Rivers was under the direction of his father, Steve, at Athens (Ala.) High School.
In 2009-10, he threw for 3,300 yards and 35 touchdowns, helping Athens to consecutive state playoff appearances as a junior and senior. After his senior season, he led Alabama to a victory in the 2010 Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic.
According to Rivals.com, Rivers had offers from Florida State, Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt among others when he chose LSU.
Rivers enters a favorable situation for a transfer quarterback. Not only is there an opening after the graduation of Austyn Carta-Samuels and a new coaching staff, but there were just two healthy scholarship quarterbacks participating in Mason's first spring practice with Vanderbilt.
Robinette, who threw for 642 yards after making appearances in 10 games as a redshirt freshman, was the only quarterback on the roster to see significant playing time last season.
McCrary was redshirted in his first year on campus and junior Josh Grady was lost for the year when he injured his knee against Texas A&M.