Gabe Rivera was one of the greatest players to ever wear the red and black, he was enshrined into Texas Tech’s prestigious Ring of Honor on Saturday before the Red Raiders faced off against the Razorbacks on Sept. 13. He became the fourth member of the Ring of Honor, joining Donny Anderson, E.J. Holub, and Dave Parks. Rivera was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.. He dominated the Southwest Conference from 1979-1982. He was a great defensive lineman compiling 321 career tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 11 pass deflections, and 6 fumble recoveries. Rivera was named to the first-team All America honor in 1982.
The Pittsburgh Steelers then selected Rivera in the first round with the 21st pick overall in the 1983 NFL Draft. Rivera began to really make an impact early in his career registering 2 sacks in his first 6 games played. Rivera was a great talent and very respected for his hard work and motivation. And sadly those were the only six games he was ever able to play.
Then on October 20, 1983, Rivera was in a terrible accident. He was paralyzed in a drunk driving accident, He was 22 years old at the time and was treated for head, neck, chest, and abdominal injuries as well as significant memory loss because of the accident. It was a very sad story not only for Texas Tech University but for the NFL, Rivera was considered to be one of the fastest defensive lineman coming out of college. Texas Tech never forgot the great contributions Rivera made to their football program as well as the university. He will forever be one of the greatest players to ever play here in Lubbock. Here is an image I took at the game when they unveiled his name along the press box where the other three names are located that have been enshrined in The Ring of Honor.
It was a packed house at Jones AT&T stadium for Gabe Rivera’s day of honor, although the Red Raiders lost 49-28 to the Arkansas Razorbacks it was still a beautiful day for football. Texas Tech had a sold out stadium and the fans were great. The student section was so packed the lines were huge to get into the game. If there is one thing I can take away from Saturday at the game, our fans here in Lubbock are some of the best in the country. Here is a photo of the student section with our Masked Rider out on the field after we scored a touchdown.
Texas Tech never fails to put on a great show for the fans, it was a very competitive game until late in the game when Arkansas puled away with an astounding rushing attack. But none the less the ceremony for Gabe Rivera was awesome and with our “Guns Up” held high there was nothing but great support for our Red Raiders. I know we can’t wait for our Thursday night game against Oklahoma State on September 25th. The Red Raiders will look to get back into the win column and start off the Big 12 season with an impressive victory when they travel to Oklahoma.