Poly's Donovan Riley commits to Virginia Tech
Having a lack of college options was never going to be a problem for Donovan Riley.
The Poly defensive back spent the past several months earning scholarship offers from Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech, with many more potentially on the way.
But for Riley, no current – or future – offers would be able to top scholarship No. 1, which came from the Hokies in late February.
“They were the first school to offer me,” Riley said. “That played a big role in my decision because there were other schools that have shown a lot of interest in me. But Virginia Tech has reached out a little more than the others, and I felt more comfortable with Virginia Tech.”
Riley, a 6-foot, 194-pound junior, committed to Virginia Tech this week. Riley said his family and friends are “very excited. There has been a lot of support that has been extended to me in achieving my athletic as well as academic success.”
As a junior, Riley recorded 46 tackles and six interceptions, in addition to 43 receptions for 900 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned two punts for touchdowns, earning Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro honors for his efforts.
Riley burst onto the Division I radar in January with a strong performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Junior Combine in San Antonio. For the next month, Riley patiently waited for his first offer. While he wondered when a school would take a chance on him, the Engineers’ star didn’t panic.
“I never looked at the actual timeline,” Riley said. “I just kept working hard. I kept praying that this moment would come. And it came down to now and I’m glad that it did so that I can focus on the rest of my school year and I can enjoy my senior year.”
Riley, who can play cornerback and safety, said the Hokies coaches were impressed with his ball skills, field awareness and hip movement. A strong student interested in math and science, Riley did his homework about the university.
“Before I made my decision, I was able to reach out to former players of Virginia Tech, parents of former players of Virginia Tech and even current players of Virginia Tech,” Riley said. “After talking with them, that assisted my decision. They let me know that Virginia Tech was a family-oriented type of campus, and that the football team was very united.”
After talking with Hokies coach Frank Beamer, wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman and defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, Riley was sufficiently convinced that Virginia Tech was the best place for him “academically and athletically.”
Riley said that while he is relieved to have made his decision and excited to have accomplished his goal of committing to a Division I program, he has much left to accomplish on the field.
“It just lets me know that I’m not finished,” Riley said. “This is only the beginning.”
Baltimore Sun photo of Donovan Riley by Karl Merton Ferron / Nov. 6, 2010