Not even a 35-10 defeat at the hands of West Virginia could turn off Donovan Riley from Pitt. The 2012 corner from Baltimore came up for the day to check out Heinz Field, and get a better idea of what a Pitt game is like. Riley already saw Pitt's facilities over the summer when he came up for one of the prospect camps last June. He finished as one of the top corners there.
"I was impressed with what (secondary) coach (Jeff) Hafley was trying to teach me," Riley said. "I took advantage of it. It was stuff I hadn't learned, and I applied it. That's the main reason I wanted to go to Pitt camp."
Apply it, he did. Riley finished his junior season with seven interceptions on defense. As a receiver on offense, he had 40 catches for over 1,000 yards. On special teams, he returned two punts for touchdowns. He earned all-metro and all-city honors for his junior season.
Riley said when he showed up at Friday's game, it was a pleasant surprise for the coaching staff. From his observations, he enjoyed the atmosphere at Heinz Field. He also enjoyed getting caught up with Hafley.
"I've been talking to coach Hafley," Riley said. "When I saw him at the game, he was very surprised to see me. He asked me if I got bigger because he said I looked bigger. He was very excited to me. I think I made his day."
After the loss, Riley said it still wasn't enough to turn him off of Pitt.
"The reason they lost was because of the turnovers, and the way West Virginia capitalized," Riley said. "If they wouldn't have turned the ball over, they would have blown out West Virginia. Once they eliminate the turnovers, they'll win every game. Pitt is definitely a school I want to keep in touch with."
He was also impressed with how the coaches and players kept their composure after a loss.
"I talked to coach Hafley, and he was disappointed, but he was saying, ‘thank you' for coming up and supporting. I told him, ‘Good game, coach; the DBs looked good.' I tried to get in contact with (receivers) coach (Scott) Turner, but he was talking with the wide receivers."
Riley even had a couple of local sports items he wanted to see on his way out of town.
"I saw Jerome Bettis' restaurant, and I went to the Roberto Clemente statue, in front of PNC Park," Riley said. "I had always wanted to see that."
Riley plans on making it back to Pitt at least twice. He is hoping to attend Pitt basketball games against Uconn (December 27) and West Virginia (February 24) as unofficial visits.