SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Riley Reiff dreamed of wrestling in college. He wasn't sure if he'd ever make it on the football field.
"Seeing it on TV, I didn't know if I was athletic enough to be able to play," the Iowa Left Tackle said. "Now that I've proven I can play, it's been awesome. These are probably the four best years of my life."
The South Dakota not only has made it in college football, he now must decide if he'll return for his last year of eligibility. Reiff is being projected as a high, first-round pick by guys like Mel Kiper Jr. if he comes out of early for April's NFL Draft.
"Obviously, we've gone to some other sources, too," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. "There is a pretty wide range, I think, with the possibilities. We'll present him with information from the NFL, NFL people, personnel, what they've given us.
"We have gotten a pretty consistent report there. We'll talk about that afterwards here. We are both in agreement to table it. Ultimately, it is his decision."
Reiff realizes he's in a pretty good position with two nice options from which to choose.
"There are a lot worse things that I could be doing right now," the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Reiff said. "I'm just thankful to be here at the University of Iowa; to get that the chance to play here. I wouldn't say I'm in a bad position, by any means."
Ferentz said if Reiff leaves, as did his predecessor at left tackle, Bryan Bulaga, it hurts because the program loses a valuable player. The coach also said it could be a benefit on the recruiting trail when you're trying to land prospects at the position.
"We will be a better football team with Riley," Ferentz said. "You can't replace a guy with his experience. All he brings is toughness, production, and this guy is a really good football player. I'm hopeful he will be back. But I also want what's best for him."
Reiff said he'll gather as much information as he can on his draft prospects after Friday's Insight Bowl here at Sun Devil Stadium. He will have to enter his name into the process by Jan. 15.
"I'll sit down and talk to some people,"Reiff said. "Really, at the end of the day, I'll have to make a decision. It's going to be a hard decision either way. Whatever I end up doing, hopefully I make the right decision."
Green Bay picked Bulaga with the 23rd pick in the '10 draft after he passed on his senior year at Iowa. He started for a Packers team that won the Super Bowl in his rookie season.
"I keep in touch with Bryan quite a bit," Reiff said. "We don't talk a lot about staying or leaving. It's more about how the body is feeling. He gives me some helpful pointers because he watches our games." Hawkeye Left Tackle Robert Gallery returned for his senior year in '03 and was picked second overall by Oakland. Marshal Yanda played left tackle his senior year at Iowa in '06 and earned a pro bowl bid for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens this year.
"It's an honor to play at the University of Iowa; to be able to play offensive line; to be able to start," Reiff said of the left tackle legacy. "It's been special. It's a great place."