"I liked the atmosphere better at North Carolina State, it just felt more like home to me," Riley told the Savannah Morning News. "It’s a place where I can play on a great football team and get a great education. Playing for coach (Mark) Stroud at Calvary has helped me because he taught me the fundamentals and gave me the discipline to play at the next level."
A 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end, Riley has had a major impact on the Calvary Day program.
"Tyrone has been a great player for us," said head coach Mark Stroud. "His sophomore year he played safety for us because he tackles so well in space. He's really long and runs well in space. His junior year he played strongside linebacker because he can run and make plays, and at his size, he's so hard to block out there.
"This year we moved him to defensive end, what I think is his natural position, and he was really good. It took some time for him to adjust early on, playing with your hand on the ground and being blocked every play, but he came around and played well."
An all-state selection, Riley totaled 78 tackles and eight sacks for the Cavaliers. His future head coach, Dave Doeren, raved about him on signing day.
"Tyrone was 6'6 and a little more than 250 pounds on his visit, and he had a 6’10 ½ wingspan," said Doeren. "He looks almost identical to Pharoah [McKever] when they are standing next to each other. It is great to have another long guy.
"He is just a really long athlete, a good basketball player. [I am] excited that we were able to get him to change his decision and join us. Losing Art Norman and Drew Davis from the defensive end position, I felt like that was a huge need for us. A guy like this that can play in space and do what he can do in our blitz packages helps."
NC State nearly didn't land Riley.
The Wolfpack recruited him last spring, and he took an unofficial visit over the summer before initially verbally committing to Kentucky. NC State remained in pursuit and increased the interest after verbal commitment Jabari Zuniga, who eventually flipped to Florida, began to look elsewhere.
Stroud believes Riley's basketball roots played a small role in his final decision.
"I think he liked all the North Carolina schools out of the gate," said Stroud. "He's a former basketball kid who has followed all the schools in the Triangle. When NC State got back in the hunt in the last month he had an affection for those guys from the start."
Heading up Riley's recruitment was his future position coach, Ryan Nielsen.
"Coach Nielsen did a good job," said Stroud. "He worked on building a good relationship with Tyrone, and he handled himself well. He did a great job recruiting him and represented NC State very well."
A rigorous school academically, Stroud says that Riley is on track to succeed academically on the next level.
"He's fully qualified in the classroom and there are high expectations academically," Stroud stated. "He's done well, and will do well at NC State."
Because he's relatively new to defensive end, and the fact that he has spent so much time playing basketball growing up, Stroud believes Riley's best football is ahead of him.
"He's finally going to get to do one thing," said Stroud. "He's always been doing football, basketball, and AAU basketball. He has to get a little bit stronger, which will help him tremendously. Just more time playing the game will be a true asset.
"His biggest strength is definitely his size and his length. He tackles and moves well in space for a big guy. I really believe he has a bright future."