The most accomplished defensive lineman in Texas Tech history, Gabe Rivera was a consensus All-American as a senior in 1982. He becomes the fourth Red Raider to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Carrying the nickname “Señor Sack”, Rivera averaged 80 tackles per season from his defensive tackle spot. He compiled 62 solo tackles, 43 assists, 10 TFL, five sacks, 25 quarterback pressures and eight pass breakups during his All-America campaign in 1982. He was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 1980 and 1981, and earned First Team All-Southwest Conference honors in 1982 and Second Team All-SWC accolades in 1981.
Chosen with the 21st overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, Rivera played six games for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rivera had his career cut short when he was left a paraplegic by injuries suffered in a car accident midway through his rookie season.
Rivera was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also a member of the Texas Tech Hall of Honor. He has volunteered as a tutor with Inner City Development in San Antonio, and he has worked with Gridiron Heroes, a nonprofit that aids high school football players that have suffered spinal cord injuries.