The way Donovan Riley sees it, he’s getting a one-year head start on his recruitment.
The rising junior defensive back from Poly has spent his summer vacation touring the East Coast, attending football camps at Connecticut, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Temple and Villanova, with stops at Virginia and Old Dominion on tap.
At most of those camps, Riley has been among the youngest participants, going head-to-head against some of the top senior prospects in the country.
“That’s what all the coaches are telling me at the camps – that I’m way ahead of the game,” Riley said. “It’s really been fun competing against the guys. It’s like we’re all on the same level. In some cases, I’m getting the best of them, but it’s been really fun.”
The 5-foot-11, 188-pound Riley saw action at cornerback, safety, wide receiver and punt returner for Poly as a junior, helping the Engineers to a 9-2 record, including an overtime win over rival City. Riley scored three touchdowns and intercepted three passes on the season.After football ended, Riley turned his attention to track, but still found time to plan his summer tour. Riley sought the advice of his father, Reginald Riley, and a few senior friends on Good Counsel’s football team.
“They basically told me what to do. They told me to attend senior prospect camps to get exposure,” Riley said. “My dad and I sat down and we mapped it out, the different schools that I wanted to visit and wanted to go to. And we spent a lot of time on the road. We spent time bonding.”
Two camp experiences stand out above the rest for Riley thus far. At Maryland, Riley said he received extra attention from defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Don Brown. At Pittsburgh, Riley had a chance to work with secondary coach Jeff Hafley. The Terps and Panthers are a couple of early favorites in Riley’s recruitment.
“I actually have three schools, but I just want a school that’s going to prepare me academically as well as athletically,” Riley said. “But I do like the University of Maryland, I do like Pitt and I do like Rutgers. ODU is my sleeper.”
When he’s not showcasing himself for college coaches, Riley is training in Baltimore. He suited up for Poly in a 7-on-7 tournament at St. Paul’s last weekend, helping the Engineers to the championship. He’s preparing for his trip to Virginia and relishing all that he has already experienced this summer, one year ahead of schedule.
“It’s been a very rewarding experience,” Riley said. “I’ve heard a lot from the coaches at the next level. They’ve taught me a lot as far as hard work, mental toughness and extra effort. I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a great experience.”