Riley an 'elite' selection

It was never a matter of not being good enough, it was simply a matter of getting the chance. Beaverton, Oregon's Kevin Riley got that chance to shine on a national stage and proved that quarterbacks from the Northwest can compete with the best in the country. Riley's third-place finish for MVP of the EA Sports Elite 11 camp - completed Thursday - behind Georgia-bound Matt Stafford and Florida prep QB Tim Tebow was proof-positive of that fact.

"It was so much fun," Riley said Thursday night after returning from camp. "The way they had everything lined up, every minute they had us doing something.

"I've felt really good throwing the ball lately and while it was definitely a jump up I can play with these guys. With the confidence I've gained this summer, I'm just going to keep on building it."

So who impressed Riley the most at the camp? "Matt Stafford really impressed me," he said. "He has a rifle arm and has good feet too. I didn't know much about Isaiah Williams going into the camp, but he has a strong arm and is fast. He really stuck out to me the first day."

The QB's stayed at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, California, where they shared rooms with another prospect. Riley's roommate was Jake Locker. "It was fun," he said of his time with Locker, who is also from the Pacific Northwest. "He's a fun guy and really a character. He's always having fun and doesn't get upset about a whole lot. He works hard on the field, but anything you do with him you're going to have fun."

Off the field, it was a common theme - the players loved the beach. "The waves were huge there! And powerful too," Riley said of his time trying to body surf on Laguna Beach. "Trying to get out of the water was tough. We also played beach volleyball and got our butts kicked by these 6 kids on the beach."

How would Riley encapsulate the entire Elite 11 experience? "I think the two biggest things I'll take from the camp is the friendships with everybody and the knowledge I learned of the game," he said.

Kevin's third-place nod as best in camp will certainly give California fans some positive things to think about, as Kevin verbally committed to Jeff Tedford a couple of weeks ago. "I'm just glad I did well and hopefully that's something the fans can get excited about," he said. It will certainly add fuel to an already heated debate on who is the West's top prep QB? Is it Riley? Is it Utah's Alex Cate or James Lark? Is it Locker from Washington? Or is it one of a host of quality signal-callers from California?

With his performance at the Elite 11, Kevin has certainly proven he has the credentials to talk the talk when it comes to being the best in the West. But that isn't Riley's language. He'd rather talk team.

After a hard camp, you would think Riley would want to take the weekend off and relax. But to his way of thinking, there's no better time to get prepared for this fall's season than right now. "I'm getting up at 7 a.m to work out with my team," he said of his Friday plans.

Sweet music for Tedford's ears.

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