Riley Going Full Speed

SPARTANBURG, S.C. ---Although not 100-percent, UNC verbal commitment Travis Riley's knee is holding up fine during Shrine Bowl practice.

"The knee is doing real good," Riley said. "The longer I run on it, the sorer it gets. But it's good all the way up until the end of practice."

During Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown's season opener, Riley tore the MCL and the PCL and fractured the tibia in his right leg. The 5-foot-11, 208-pound tailback returned to the lineup ahead of schedule nine weeks later, albeit not at 100 percent.

Despite the soreness, Riley says he doesn't have to pace himself during practice.

"I just go full speed every play," Riley said.

However, Riley does have to take care of his knee every night at the team hotel.

"Every night I ice it up, take care of it, and be ready to roll for the next day," Riley said.

Riley says he'll be able to contribute "as much as [the North Carolina coaching staff] lets" him on Saturday.

"If they give me the ball, I think I'll be good," Riley said.

Riley even goes as far as to say that he could handle a full workload of 25-30 carries, something he couldn't do after returning to Brown's lineup.

"I think I can get it done," Riley said. "[My knee] got about three weeks of rest, so it got a lot of time to heal up."

Needing Riley to handle a full workload likely won't be necessary. The North Carolina squad plans to use a rotation of four running backs consisting of Wofford pledge Octavius Harden, Andre Montgomery, and Justus Pickett, along with Riley.

"Right now, everybody is just getting reps [during practice] and getting used to the offense," Riley said.

North Carolina will employ a one-back spread offense against South Carolina.

"It's kind of similar to what we run at Kannapolis," Riley said. "It's mostly shotgun with a little bit of I-formation sprinkled in. So I'm kind of used to it."

In between practice time and taking care of his knee, Riley is spending time with the other UNC verbal commitments on his team.

"I've seen a little bit too much of Eric Ebron," Riley joked. "Other than that it's been fun. Eric has been in my room every night until about 12 o'clock. But we're having a lot of fun joking around and getting to know each other a little bit. It's been really me, Marquise Williams, Eric, T.J. [Thorpe], my roommate Dominique Noble – he's going to Georgia Tech, but I'm trying to swing him but I don't think he's going anywhere – and [Brandon] Ellerbe."

Besides Noble, Riley says he's recruiting any of his North Carolina teammates that are willing to listen.

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