Then a sophomore, Riley helped Brown reach the NCHSAA 3AA state semifinals. The 6-foot, 205-pounder ended that season with 363 yards and nine touchdowns on 63 carries and went into the offseason as Brown's starting tailback.
"I didn't feel too much pressure [heading into my junior season]," Riley said. "…Everybody expects us to win every year because of our winning tradition and I just wanted to uphold that."
Brown's season ended a couple games sooner than the previous year, but Riley had a breakout campaign. He rushed for 1,924 yards and 32 touchdowns on 217 carries. He added 255 yards and two touchdowns in receptions.
"He was a very present surprise just how he improved between his sophomore and junior year," head coach Ron Massey said. "I think running track helped him a lot with his actual game speed – that was probably the biggest thing that we saw. And I thought he developed with how he handled the ball and catching the ball."
Since arriving at Brown in 2000, Massey has molded his offense each season to fit his personnel's strength. With Riley at Massey's disposal, the offense has morphed into a two-back I.
"He's just a downhill runner," Massey said. "His biggest asset is probably his strength. He doesn't have the speed that a lot of top running backs have, but he's so strong with pads on that he seems to run as fast as a lot of people."
At Wake Forest's camp last summer, Riley ran a respectable 4.68-second 40-yard dash.
In addition to Wake Forest, Riley is fielding significant interest from Duke, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina.
"A lot [of schools] have inquired," Massey said. "I would say right now there's a lot of interest. I'm fairly positive that somebody is going to offer… This summer, he'll attend some one-day camps and I wouldn't be surprised to see his interest increase."
Riley plans to camp at Duke, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest.
Recently, Riley attended junior days at Duke and Wake Forest.
"I toured the campus at both of them," Riley said. "I got to learn a little bit about the academic side, as well as the football program. At Duke I actually got to watch spring practice – that was cool."
Besides the two junior days, Riley has attended football games at Clemson and Duke. His uncle is a Duke season ticket holder.
With much of his recruitment up-in-the-air, Riley is reluctant to name favorite schools.
"Honestly, I don't have any favorites right now," Riley said. "I'm trying to keep all my options open, because you never know what's going to happen."