Riley, who’s ranked No. 112 in the ESPNU 150 ranking of the nation’s top recruits, said he intends to make the trek to St. Petersburg, Fla., where he will be a part of Team Blur as it takes on Team Nitro at Tropicana Field on Jan. 2.
“It’s the first time I’ve had a player get an honor like this,” said St. Francis High football Coach Jim Bonds, who’s coached more than his share of high-level recruits during 14 seasons with the Golden Knights and at Alemany. “I think it’s pretty huge.”
Riley will be coached by former NFL coach Ted Marchibroda for the game, however, while another former NFL coach, Sam Wyche, will lead Team Nitro. Daily practice sessions will be televised on ESPNU on Dec. 30 and 31 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Burger King Skills Challenge will air on Jan. 1 at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. The game itself will air live at 11 a.m. on Jan. 2 on ESPN.
“It’s unbelievable for Dietrich, but it’s also great for the school,” said Bonds, in reference to the notoriety and recognition St. Francis no doubt receives by having Riley recognized on a national stage. “I’m really happy for Dietrich, it’s a great experience for him.”
The Golden Knights went 9-3 in Riley’s senior season, advancing to the CIF Southern Section Western Division quarterfinals, where they lost to Palmdale, 49-42, in double-overtime.
Riley had 1,335 total yards and 14 total touchdowns on offense, where he lined up as a running back and receiver.
On defense as a safety, he had 64 tackles, three interceptions, including one for a score, and a fumble recovery.
It’s as a safety that Riley is listed on the roster.
Among his teammates will be Palmdale’s Josh Shaw, who Riley and the Golden Knights played their last game against.
Going against him on Team Nitro, among others, is quarterback Nick Montana of Oaks Christian. Like Riley, more than 60 of the players scheduled to participate are ranked in the ESPNU 150.
The competition is one of the many perks for Riley.
“I’m ready to ball up, I’m ready to get after it,” he said. “It gets your competitive juices going. It’s great just to be around these guys you read about. It’s a fun feeling.”
Perhaps the greatest feeling, however, is that Riley is now an All-American.
“It’s really a humble feeling,” he said. “It makes me work harder.”
Get in touch GRANT GORDON is the sports editor. He can be reached at (818) 637-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.