Philip Riley Details Recommitment To Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football
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Philip Riley Details Recommitment To Notre Dame

Notre Dame fans received great news on Sunday evening, as Valrico (Fla.) Bloomingdale class of 2021 defensive back Philip Riley announced his decision to switch his commitment from USC to Notre Dame.

Riley originally pledged to the Fighting Irish in May but felt he wanted to play on the west coast where he’s from. However, the Notre Dame staff kept on him ever since he decommitted from Notre Dame and flipped to USC in September and won his recruitment back.

Riley credits Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea for never giving up on him and getting him back in the Irish’s 2021 class. Cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and recruiting coordinator Brian Polian were important as well.

“Coach Lea definitely stood out,” Riley said. “He told me even if I go to USC that I can still contact him just like when I was committed. He kept on it and was building that relationship with me outside of football – man-to-man. He persuaded me back to Notre Dame.”

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A campus visit and a connection with Clark Lea led Riley back to Notre Dame.
A campus visit and a connection with Clark Lea led Riley back to Notre Dame. (Rivals.com)

Riley committed to Notre Dame sight unseen the first time around. But for his latest pledge, Riley was able to get in a visit to South Bend. The Rivals250 recruit made a trip with his father in October.

“It was a great vibe,” Riley said. “It was definitely welcoming and a friendly vibe. It sucked that I couldn’t talk to the coaches or players, but seeing the students in their natural environment and the students in their regular weekday definitely was amazing. The historical buildings like the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus was crazy. It was amazing seeing that in person.

“We saw how tight knit the community is and how they support their athletes. It’s really diverse there – people from different walks of life and different perspectives. I built strong relationships with the other commits and coaching staff – that also resonated with me and helped lead me back to Notre Dame.”

Rivals ranks Riley as the No. 38 player in the state of Florida, and the nation’s No. 24 cornerback and No. 241 overall prospect. When BlueandGold.com saw him play in September before his initial decommitment, Riley was imposing and had bulked up in the offseason. With Riley’s physicality, he could grow into a safety in Lea’s defense.

“They said I’ll be playing corner, but if I need to get moved to safety, then that’s something that we’re thinking about it,” Riley explained. “I’m fine with it 100 percent. I’m going to get bigger, so if I have to get moved to safety then that’s something I’m comfortable with.”

Riley is Notre Dame’s 20th verbal commitment of the 2021 class, which already contains defensive backs in Bolingbrook (Ill.) High’s Justin Walters, Encino (Calif.) Crespi’s Chance Tucker and Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard’s Ryan Barnes.

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