Three-star standout linebacker Duke Riley has several college coaches anxiously awaiting his next move.
The defensive playmaker has received scholarship offers from Arizona, Colorado, Ole Miss, San Diego State, TCU, and several others, and when the season winds down recruiting will become a point of focus. Until then, he has other priorities.
"The recruiting process is going really well. I'm just taking my time with it right now," Riley said. "I'm not really worried about it to be honest with you. I'm focused on getting to the state championship next week and winning it. We're just focusing every week and trying to get better every day."
As usual this time of year, River Ridge (La.) John Curtis is in the midst of a title run. The Patriots have claimed 24 Louisiana state championships and are looking to win back-to-back titles following their 14-0 title run in 2011.
It takes a different kind of focus and determination to win so many championships. There is no time for a letdown or to relax and rest on past performances. Riley and his John Curtis teammates know they will receive everyone's best effort and they know what it takes to continually raise the bar.
"Every year our goal is to win a state championship. I mean the day after the championship the first thing on my mind was winning it next year," Riley said. "We're just so dedicated and committed. We have tunnel vision right now. That's all we're focused on right now."
Still Riley knows recruiting is there waiting, and the attention continues.
"The schools showing the most interest right now are Ole Miss, Tulane, TCU, Minnesota…LSU is showing a lot of interest but they haven't offered," Riley said. "I have UL-Lafayette, Colorado, San Diego State. Basically all the schools that have offered me are on me."
Over Thanksgiving weekend he also took an unofficial visit to watch the Egg Bowl at Ole Miss.
"It was amazing," Riley said. "I had a good time with the players and the coaches and stuff and the recruits too."
One aspect of the visit really caught his attention.
"Just the way the players talked about the way the coaches were trying to rebuild that program," Riley said. "I play linebacker so I'm watching Denzel Nkemdiche make all the plays, and I saw myself playing next to him and making plays with him."
At this point in the process, he maintains his options remain open, and he is looking forward to figuring everything out after what he hopes is another state championship season.
Following the season though he knows he has some decisions to make. Chief among those decisions will be his official visit schedule.
"I have Ole Miss January 26," Riley said. "And I talked to a Minnesota coach and they wanted me to come up I think on December 14, but San Diego State wanted me to come up those same days so I don't know which one I'm going to get to. I'll have to talk to my dad and see which one he wants to do."
Riley is currently ranked No. 29 in the Rivals.com Louisiana Top 40 and No. 42 among outside linebackers.