Size: 6-0, 227
Year: Senior (3 year letterman)
High School: John Curtis Christian High School
Hometown: Buras, Louisiana
A three-star prospect, Duke Riley was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association for Louisiana in 2012. After collecting 124 tackles his senior season at John Curtis, the New Orleans native was named to the 2012 All-State team by the LWSA in 2012. Riley committed to LSU after a greyshirt offer was made into a full scholarship offer by Frank Wilson and John Chavis at the time. Once Riley heard that, he called Les Miles while Wilson and Chavis were at his home and committed on Jan. 30, 2013, just days before signing day. Riley committed to LSU over offers from Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, TCU and others.
Riley, an infrequently used defensive asset, yet, played in all 12 games in 2015, notched 24 tackles last season — 7.5 of which fell in LSU’s 44-22 win against Eastern Michigan on October 3. Used normally as a reserve linebacker behind former Tiger and now-Atlanta Falcon Deion Jones and Kendell Beckwith, Riley saw minimal minutes behind the defensive line but was a featured special teamer for the Tigers.
Riley earned eight tackles, his career high, in LSU’s 33-0 win against Louisiana-Monroe (Sept. 3, 2014) after seeing the field more to replace the then-injured Lamar Louis.
Outlook for 2016-17
You’ll be seeing more of Duke.
As expected, Riley’s expected to be a stronghold beside Beckwith (Mack) in new Tiger defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s new scheme as the other inside linebacker, or “Rover” as the position is named. Aranda, the “professor” as he’s nicknamed for his 3-4 hard-to-master, deceptive defense, is expected to shuffle a variety of players behind the three-down — and sometimes five-man defensive line with, perhaps, two standing rushers on the corners.
Riley will be in the mix of moving pieces, but he’ll find most of his time on the field at inside linebacker.
“We'll mix up personnels, but we'll be playing Dave Aranda football,” said LSU coach Les Miles at SEC Media Days (July 11-14), “and that's historically been damn good.”
With LSU’s surging freshman class of bulked linebackers, plentitude of linebacker-sized defensive backs and arsenal of pass rushers, Riley may be moving throughout the season to different positions, swifting one way or the other, inside of the defense.
Nevertheless, expect to see his No. 40 more than before right beside Beckwith, Miles said.
“Duke Riley is a very bright, capable player and will start opposite him,” Miles said.