Tonight marks a huge showdown in Florida high school football, as Tampa Bay Jefferson, featuring six players with scholarship offers from Wisconsin, visits Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg.
On the Lakewood side of the field is Julian Riley, a 6-3, 237-pound defensive tackle that has more than a dozen Division I offers but is heavily considering the Badgers. Riley had 50 solo tackles, 22 assists, 20 tackles-for-loss, 14 sacks, 12 quarterback pressures, three caused fumbles and one fumble recovery at the completion of the 10-game regular season. After last week's playoff victory, Lakewood is 9-2.
Riley is scheduled to visit Madison Dec. 13, following a trip to Purdue Dec. 6. He also is scheduling a visit to Boston College, and he plans on making two more visits. The other schools still on Riley's list are Florida, Wake Forest, Pitt, Ohio State and Iowa State. The Buckeyes are the only team that haven't offered him a scholarship on that list.
Riley said he is intrigued to find out what Wisconsin is all about.
"People around here always say, what's in Wisconsin? You know?" Riley said. "I want to see for myself. Wisconsin is tight. I really like Wisconsin, but I have my own little things, like that it might be really, really, especially cold. But that's the main reason I'm taking a visit, because academically they're great, and athletically it's a really good program. The thing about it is, I want to see everything else, like the academic support, the coaches and the players, the atmosphere and the women."
Riley said he has some of the same questions about Purdue, but he's high on the Boilermakers because they've also offered his good friend and teammate, quarterback Pat Carter. They have also suggested an offer might be on the way for running back Marcus Anderson.
"That makes them high (on my list) because Pat and I would like to go to the same school," Riley said. "Indiana is a good area, and I like Purdue."
Riley said he hasn't ruled out any school on his list of finalists, and aside from what he will learn on his official visits, academic support is the No. 1 factor.
"I want to see what kind of support each program has," Riley said. "I want to be a sports broadcast journalist."
Florida Defensive End High on Badgers
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