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One of Minnesota’s top prospects, son of former UND standout commits to Fighting Hawks’ football program

When Billy Riviere was in elementary school, he came to UND to watch a spring football game where his dad was honored as one of the program’s greats.

As a highly sought prospect this summer out of Wayzata High School, Riviere kept coming back to the family connection to UND.

On Friday, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end gave his verbal commitment to play at UND.

He chose the Fighting Hawks over offers from FBS schools Eastern Michigan and Air Force.

“The biggest thing is the family ties,” Riviere said. “My sister goes there right now. My mom and dad went there. My dad played there. Growing up, it always meant a lot to me. It was my first offer. It all seemed to make sense.”

As a junior, Riviere caught 15 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown at Wayzata -- the same school as UND running back-turned-linebacker Austin Gordon.

Riviere said he was in fourth or fifth grade when his dad, Bill, served as honorary coach during a UND spring game.

“We were able to walk around the locker room and it was jaw-dropping for us,” Riviere said. “It was a weekend I’ll never forget. It started the whole connection, and I realized the school meant a lot to me.”

In 1991, Bill Riviere was the North Central Conference’s Most Valuable Offensive Lineman. He was a four-year starter at center for coach Roger Thomas.

The younger Riviere is padding a strong resume of his own, too.

The recruiting website ranks Riviere as the No. 13 prospect in Minnesota’s 2019 recruiting class.

Tight end Travis Yohnke of Parkers Prairie, who recently committed to North Dakota State, is ranked No. 18 on that list.

Riviere said he’s thankful for the process to come to an end but enjoyed the time spent in the car with his dad as he traveled the country going to recruiting events.

“We talked about the pros and cons and weighed everything,” he said. “It always came back to UND, no matter what I compared it to.”

Riviere said he owed a quick recruiting decision to his high school teammates and is ready to enjoy the rest of the summer.

“I’ll probably be fishing 80 percent of the days,” he said.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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