Riva surprised by WSU trip, nabs Cougar offer

BEN RIVA DIDN'T really know what to expect during his unofficial visit to Washington State. The O'Dea offensive tackle prospect, out on the Palouse this past weekend, took in the crimson sights and sounds and before he left town, received a full ride offer from Wazzu head man Paul Wulff. But that wasn't the most surprising thing to the hoss.

Riva said he was impressed with Wulff from the get-go. Indeed, Riva said he was struck by the fact that Wulff didn't start talking to him about protecting the quarterback's blind side, zone blocking or driving the defender off the ball.

Instead, Wulff spoke about the importance WSU places on academics and character.

"The first thing they talked about was academics and being a good person," said Riva. "They didn't really talk about football all that much at first.

"I liked it a lot. It kind of changed my mind a lot about Washington State...I was kind of surprised by everything. It was a great experience, a great trip."

Riva said he was also able to get in some face time with WSU o-line coach Harold Etheridge.

"He talked to me a lot (but) there was also a bunch of other kids there...It was really exciting to meet all the coaches and they were really excited about me. It was great. It was a great trip," said Riva.

RIVA's FATHER ALSO came over to Pullman on the unofficial visit. The younger Riva said he came away smiling, too.

"He really liked coach Wulff. They had a lot in common and a lot to talk about. And he was really happy he doesn't have to pay for college," Riva quipped.

"Me and my dad ate dinner with coach Wulff and he offered me a scholarship. We talked for a long time."

AS HAS BEEN oft-mentioned on CF.C, Wulff and the Cougar staff place a recruiting premium on length and athleticism on the o-line. Riva would seem to fit the bill nicely.

"I'm 6-7, 285...I run about a 5.0 forty. They just said I was really versatile and that I was what they were looking for -- they liked that I could get downfield and wasn't just a big guy who couldn't move," said Riva.

RIVA HAS BEEN offered by both Washington State and UW, and said he's been in email contact with UCLA and Nebraska. He's also hearing from from Oregon and Northwestern.

A solid student, he's enrolled in honors courses at O'Dea and has played basketball for years, though his focus is now solely on football.

Riva was offered by the UW during his unofficial to Montlake last Wednesday. He said he will miss the UW junior day event this weekend to attend the one at UCLA.

"I like them both a lot," he said of Washington State and Washington. "I still have a lot of time here and I'm just going to make up my mind when the time comes."

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