football

Riley soaking up attention

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La Canada (Calif.) St. Francis running back Dietrich Riley knows he can play on either side of the ball. At the recent Los Angeles NIKE Training Camp, he showed off his versatile skills and impressed at both running back and safety.
"I had a blast," Riley said. "I turned some heads. People didn't know what I was capable of doing at running back because they'd never seen me play it at a camp. I think definitely people were surprised by how I performed and it was just a great experience."
Riley, who is 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, was pleased to earn praise for his abilities at running back, the position he's been playing all his life.
"People were complimenting me because they liked how I could go up against the big running backs," he said. "They loved my hands, my quickness, my size, my strength and my speed. They also liked how I held my ground in the blocking drills and that I can catch out of the backfield too."
Riley now has a dozen offers after adding new ones from Baylor and Oregon last week.
"I'm not too familiar with Baylor's football team, so hopefully I can get some more insight about their team," he said.
"Oregon's a great team. They always have a great reputation for sending guys to the next level, great facilities and a great coach. I've never been out that and that's one place I definitely want to take a trip out to. People have been telling me a lot of great things about that university."
He's hoping to add another offer this week. Riley said coaches from Alabama are visiting him at school Tuesday for his morning workouts.
"Hopefully, if everything works out in my favor, I can pick up an offer from them," he said.
Riley got a chance to watch the Crimson Tide play their spring game on April 18 and was immediately impressed.
"That's one school I've been eager to hear from," he said. "I could see myself making an early impact right away. They have a young defensive secondary that I could fit into right away."
Though he's been recruited heavily by USC, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Nebraska, Washington, Riley said that Tennessee has stepped up its efforts to land him and he's taken notice.
"They've been sending me handwritten letters on a daily basis and they've been coming at me pretty hard," he said. "I wasn't expecting to hear from them as much since I'm from California and they're in the SEC. I think they're going to come by my school this week because they were going on the road this week. They're high on my list."
Riley has family in Tennessee and has visited before, and he's interested in checking out the Vols and meeting with associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron.
"I'd definitely like to go out there and meet coach (Lane) Kiffin and Coach O. I've known Coach O since seventh grade and it'd be good to be around him, he's a high energy guy – he just gets me fired up being around him."
Though Tennessee has come on strong lately, Riley has always had a close connection to USC and has been attending the school's camps since the seventh grade.
"I pretty much grew up with USC," he said. I've been around that coaching staff for quite a long time. They're like family - it feels like home when I'm at USC. Coach (Rocky) Seto and I e-mail every morning to talk not just football but life and how everything's going. He's a really religious guy so we talk about God a lot. I have a great relationship with him."
USC was the first school to offer Riley a scholarship, and he called the moment "a blessing."
"That's always been my dream school. I just remember that day, sitting in Pete Carroll's office with all the coaches and they were complimenting me. I just kept thinking about it on the drive home, it was amazing."
Riley said he doesn't have a preference at this point when it comes to what position he'd prefer to play. He knows
"I like both positions. I understand that you'll have a longer career at defensive back, but I've always loved playing running back," he said. "In my perspective, I'm a hell of a running back and a complete back that a team would need in the crunch time.
"I can bust an 80-yarder, I can pass block, get out in the slot, return kicks – I'm a spectacular athlete on all ends. Same with defense, though. Big, fast defensive backs don't come around much. They're a rare find, so I think I can make a big impact on the defense, too."
Riley plans to visit every school that has offered him during the summer and also plans to attend the USC Rising Star Camp.
He's interested in making a visit to Texas, though the Longhorns haven't spent much time recruiting him.
"They really haven't shown as much interest in me as I would like, they haven't really sent me anything, but that's one school I'd like to check out," Riley said.
Riley has no favorite schools at this point and is interested in every school that's offered him. He said he would likely wait until National Signing Day to make his decision or possibly in March, depending on how many offers he's sitting at by then.
"I don't have a favorite school at this point. I like all the school that have offered me and I don't have a top five," he said. "I want to take all five of my visits and try to make the best decision possible for the next five or six years of my life."
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