Late bloomer Dominic Rivera becomes Rutgers’ latest commit – Morning Journal

Late bloomer Dominic Rivera becomes Rutgers’ latest commit – Morning Journal


How would someone describe a player like Olmsted Falls offensive tackle Dominic Rivera?

Bulldogs head coach Tom DeLuca describes him as a late bloomer after he committed to play in the Big Ten for Rutgers University.

He committed to play for the Scarlet Knights on June 13 with an announcement on Twitter.

“First off, I would like to thank my family for the constant love and support they have been giving since the start,” his statement on Twitter said. “Secondly, I would like to thank coach DeLuca, coach Rivera and many others for helping me with this process and my development since the beginning. And I would like to give one last thank you to my teammates for always having my back and pushing me to be my best. With that being said, I am beyond blessed to commit to Rutgers University!”

With 11 Division I offers to schools including Iowa State, Syracuse and Boston College, the three trips to Rudders’ campus made the difference for the All-Ohioan.

“Each time that I went there, a different question would be answered,” Rivera said. “The first time, I introduced myself to the coaches and seeing the facilities. The second was to see how they coached during spring practice and the third time was to see how I meshed with the team and the player; Seeing how I would be treated by them. I had no doubt about anything that there was no bad experience ever with them.”

He feels like their offensive line coaching staff will get the best out of him without the need to yell, but to thoroughly explain what his responsibilities are in pass protection or the running game. According to him, it reminds him of the coaching style DeLuca and his staff coaches his players.

At 6-foot-8 and weighing at 320 pounds compared to 6-foot-7 310 last year, DeLuca thinks that the third-team All-Ohioan is agile for this size thanks to his work in the weight room and the offseason training.

“You have to have some God-given gifts like height and weight. You also have to be willing to put in the effort and the work, which (Rivera) does. He works out six days a week, sometimes seven. … He works really hard,” DeLuca said.

According to Rivera, the difference between the junior and sophomore versions of himself are huge.

“(I am) a completely different person (from my sophomore year),” he said. “Sophomore (Rivera) was throwing me out there and testing the waters and I did my job, but not to the best of my abilities. With a very long offseason, I turned into a completely different person. I learned how to flip that switch.”

In one offseason, he improved in the weight room, footwork, speed, and agility to become a three-star recruit and one of the top offensive linemen in Ohio.

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