Don't let his size fool you. At 5-foot-9, Sean Riley will be viewed by some as undersized without the ideal stature for a division one receiver. But he can fly, is electric in the open field, brings dynamic versatility and flat out makes plays. The Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne High product took an official visit to Syracuse over the weekend and decided to commit to the Orange before leaving campus.
Despite being committed to Arizona for some time, Riley was looking around. The Wildcats asked him to greyshirt, meaning he would not arrive until the semester after the rest of the class. This was not received well by Riley or the folks at Narbonne High, and Syracuse become the benefactor of that situation.
"The academics at Syracuse are great and a degree from here really means something," Riley said. "I didn't just commit for football because it doesn't last forever. That was the part that kind of got me."
The three-star athlete says Syracuse plans on using him in a variety of ways. He will spend some time in the slot, some time in the backfield as a traditional running back and also be a contributor on special teams. With Brisly Estime entering his senior season, the Orange is in need of a future dynamic returner and Riley is every bit of that.
"An explosive running back who can play in the slot and will be a dangerous return man," Scout Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins said. "He's very quick and can hit his top end speed after just a few strides. He has a lot of wiggle, can make multiple defenders miss in the open field and shows great balance in being able to take a hit, bounce off and keep going.
"He has extremely quick feet, especially laterally and can stop and start and change direction as good as any back in the area."
Given his talents, playmaking ability and speed, it is easy to see why head coach Dino Babers was quite pleased with the newest member of the 2016 recruiting class.
"I had a meeting with coach Babers," Riley said. "Just me and him. I told him I wanted to commit and he loved it. I saw that he was really excited, which made me even more excited and just ready to play for Syracuse."
Riley spent a lot of time during his visit checking out the campus, speaking with students and professors and getting a feel for the atmosphere of his future home. He said it all made a big impression on him, including the Carrier Dome.
"The facilities have everything you need to be the best player you can possibly be," Riley said. "I loved the Carrier Dome. I've never seen a game there before, but I can tell it gets loud inside."
Syracuse is still in the market for wide receivers in 2016, and Riley's commitment does not impact that. He will likely play the slot and some running back, where as players like four-star Desmond Fitzpatrick and three-star Malik Harrison are viewed as outside guys. They are still very much priorities for the Orange.
Fitzpatrick visits Syracuse the weekend of the 22nd, Harrison the 29th.
Another wide receiver target, DeVaughn Cooper, is a high school teammate of Riley. Riley plans to try to recruit him for Syracuse and says Cooper is enjoying the visit.
Also of note, Narbonne's offensive coordinator is former NFL tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, who payed for Babers at Arizona. That connection helped the Orange get involved with Riley and his Narbonne teammates.