Mike Rivera couldn't be happier to be a Jayhawk.
The senior linebacker from Shawnee Mission Northwest committed to Kansas on Wednesday night and is relieved to have made what he feels was the best decision possible.
"I'm really pumped. It's a lot of weight off my shoulders. I feel great, and feel like I couldn't have made a better decision."
It was no secret that Rivera had been hoping to get his decision out of the way. The 6-3, 240 senior had received offers from both Kansas and Missouri, and schools like Kansas State, Nebraska and Colorado State had also expressed interest. The last thing Rivera wanted was a big distraction during his final season as a Cougar.
With visits scheduled for both Kansas and Missouri, SMNW coach Scott Diebold told Phog.net last week that a decision could come sooner rather than later.
It came sooner.
Rivera was so impressed with his visit in Lawrence last weekend that his scheduled visit to Missouri this week was no longer necessary.
"After the game on Saturday I was really excited. I decided to let it set in for a couple of days and when thought back about it, I thought about how I really liked the coaches, like Coach (Dave) Doeren and then I made my decision last night."
At SMNW, Rivera plays linebacker, tight end and even shares some kicking duties, but his college focus will be on just one position for now.
"Inside linebacker. That's where I'll play."
Rivera knows he'll be joining a quality group of linebackers next year at Kansas. He saw first hand last Saturday, just how talented a unit it is.
"It's exciting, it's awesome. They're incredible players who play with great intensity. I got to meet them on Saturday night and they were great guys too."
While Rivera would love to make an instant impact when he arrives at Kansas next summer, he's not counting on playing right as a freshman.
"It's a goal to shoot for. I'm not expecting it though. If I can learn the defense I might have a chance, but I'm not heading in expecting to play my first year."
He will be expecting to play a big role for the Cougars this year though, and now can focus on keeping his high school team undefeated instead of clouding his mind with college choices.
Torain also an option
Rivera's good friend and Cougar teammate Ryan Torain could be a Jayhawk as well. Mike Rivera, Sr. indicated on Thursday night that Kansas also has interest in the senior tailback/cornerback. Last week versus Lawrence Free State Torain accounted for 32 of his team's 36 points with 5 touchdowns and a two-point conversion.