Washington State’s Rien Long proved to be more than a “West Coast wonder.” The 6-6, 286-pound defensive tackle earned the Outland Trophy as college football’s top interior lineman for 2002.
“He put us on the map tonight,” coach Mike Price said of the junior from Anacortes. They attended the College Football Awards Show together December 12 in Orlando, Florida.
Long’s defensive prowess was recognized earlier in the season. He was picked to a number of All-America first teams, including those of the Associated Press and the Football Writers Association. His regular season statistics included 20.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and three pass deflections.
Three other Cougars earned All-America recognition. Senior offensive guard Derrick Roche of Kent was one of 25 players named to the American Football Coaches Association’s first team, and AP second team. He had 38 consecutive starts for WSU. Quarterback Jason Gesser was a first-team choice of College Football News. The senior from Honolulu threw for 3,169 yards and 27 touchdowns during the 2002 regular season. Long and senor cornerback Marcus Trufant, Tacoma, earned first-team honors from ESPN.com. Trufant also was named to AP’s second team.