July 13, 2009

Four-star safety talks UA

The Alabama Crimson Tide coaching staff has done plenty of traveling this year to search out the top talent from every end of the country. Every once in a while, a prospect turns up far from Tuscaloosa that somehow has ties to the state of Alabama and one name that turned up recently was California safety Dietrich Riley.

Rated as the nation's No. 11 safety prospect, Riley has also excelled at St. Francis High School in La Canada, Calif. on offense as both a running back and receiver. Riley has received scholarship offers from programs across the country including USC, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, but it's two programs from the Southeast that seem to be pursuing him the most.

"I definitely hear from Tennessee the most and probably Alabama after that," said Riley, 6-foot-1, 200-pounds. "I'm still waiting to hear from Florida and Georgia but it's nice to be getting attention from the SEC."

"Tennessee is after me hard, I hear from them somehow probably every day, even if it's just letters in the mail. They are really going to make some noise in the next few years I think because of all the energy that staff has. Their coaches have lots of NFL experience, especially with Monte Kiffin running the defense."

While Tennessee has made a strong early impression on Riley, the Crimson Tide aren't trailing far behind and have one distinct advantage that could prove helpful.

"Coach Saban is a fantastic coach. To do what they did last season was really impressive and they showed all year that they want to compete on every play. I also have family in Montgomery so I really wouldn't feel lost or far from home in Tuscaloosa."

One particular Tide player has caught Riley's attention and impressed the four-star athlete both as a receiver and as a defensive back.

"I really admire Julio Jones' game. I love watching him and how he plays the position. I watch him on Youtube every day before I go out and practice and try to watch how he beats press coverage, how he uses his body to get the position he wants on defenders. He's someone I look up to as a football player and I think he's a big part of why Alabama will be competing for a national championship this year."

Riley said he is hoping for more scholarship offers to come his way from SEC country and that he isn't intimidated at all about moving to such a different part of the country.

"Moving to the South isn't really that big a concern for me to begin with. I think it will be good for me to be out on my own and having to take care of myself. It will give me a chance to mature in a hurry. Also, it's important to experience different parts of the country if you are going to play at the next level because NFL guys have to travel all over the country every week."

As a junior, Riley, registered 48 tackles, 2 sacks and an interception on defense while rushing for 840 yards and 5 touchdowns on offense along with 132 yards and another touchdown as a receiver.

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