Texas Tech Football: 50 Greatest Red Raiders of all time

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Dec. 4, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Gabe Rivera speaks at the NFF annual awards press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria before being inducted into the 2012 college football hall of fame. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 – Gabe Rivera (Defensive tackle 1979 – 1982)

 Originally recruited as a linebacker, the greatest defensive lineman in Texas Tech history is an obvious choice to be in the top five of greatest Texas Tech players.

After growing to 300-pounds, Gabe Rivera of San Antonio, TX evolved into one of the most dominant defenders in college football history.

The man known affectionately as “Senor Sack” was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012 making him the 4


Red Raider to earn that honor. Fast enough to run down most offensive players and strong enough to dominate any opposing lineman, Rivera made 321 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 11 pass deflections, and 6 fumble recoveries in his career.

Rivera was named the 1982 Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a consensus all-American that year and was honored as part of the Southwest Conference all-decade team for the 1980’s.

Unfortunately, Rivera’s football career was cut short during his rookie season in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steeler’s 1983 first round pick was paralyzed in a single car accident putting an end to what was a special football career.

Next: Donny Anderson