Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

UNC Football Class of 2017 Signee: DT Jordon Riley

Inside Carolina takes a closer look at the Tar Heel signee.

BIO: Enrolled at UNC in January •  Ranked the No. 40 defensive tackle in the country, No. 13 in the South and No. 2 in North Carolina by • Played multiple positions on the defensive line • Missed the first five games of his senior season with a foot injury • Played his first year of football as a sophomore • Also played basketball for Riverside.


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RECRUITMENT: After focusing on basketball for much of his life, Riley decided to give football a try as a sophomore. Almost immediately, the move paid dividends in the form of offers from NC State and Old Dominion. Additional offers quickly followed, but his two most consequential offers, UNC and Tennessee, came after he performed at those respective schools’ camps. Shortly thereafter, he committed to the Volunteers only to de-commit a month later. The following February, he pledged to his childhood favorite, UNC.

WHY CAROLINA: “Basically, they had a plan laid out for me and I really liked the plan they have for me. And just the relationships I had with the coaches … But, each time I visited North Carolina, it was just different up there. Not only that, it’s the people, man – and not only in football but outside of football there are really great people up there. And what they have going on with the program is outstanding and I want to be a part of that.”

EVALUATION: Given his combination of size and athleticism, Riley has tremendous upside as a defensive tackle on the collegiate level. At 6-foot-5 and approximately 300 pounds, he moves like an athlete 100 pounds lighter. While his technique needs refinement, he’s already a big, strong, disruptive force. Although his progress was delayed when he missed the first five games, he displayed a better understanding of hand usage during his senior season.

HS COACH QUOTES: “He’s only been playing football since he was a sophomore, but he’s very athletic. He’s more athletic than a lot of people think. Knowing the football X and O part of it, a lot of other kids have that already. For now, he comes at it as a pure athlete and I think he’ll learn those other things. Carolina liked his size, speed and athletic ability. You don’t find guys who are 6-6, 300 pounds that are playing basketball, don’t have a ton of fat, that can dunk and are in shape. They also liked his mental capability of being a leader. I think if they can recruit more defensive guys like Jordon, I think they can get to that next level like they want to be. He can play all four spots on the line, though I think he’s best suited for a 3-technique.” — Chris Howell, Riverside HS 

INSIDE THE COMMITMENT: Since the age of seven, Riley’s focus was solely basketball. That concentration was amplified when, as a 6-foot-4 middle schooler, he began to appear on various basketball rankings.  … Read the full subscriber-only report

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