The arrival of Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer) to the Nike Football Training Camp in Charlotte, N.C., served as a suitable microcosm as to where he stands in his recruitment. The 6-foot-4, 274-pound defensive lineman got out of a bright red and black truck with a Florida Gators license plate on the front. He was wearing a Clemson baseball cap and a Georgia Bulldogs hoodie.
Needless to say, he has yet to make a decision regarding the college he will attend next year. But Riles is making progress, as two programs have maintained the top spots on his list for the past few weeks.
“I am just evaluating everyone, schools like California are close to offering and others like Michigan State just offered,” Riles said. “Right now, my No. 1 schools are Florida and Georgia.”
A native of Bainbridge, Ga., Riles grew up following the Bulldogs, as well as Clemson. So imagine his surprise when the Gators offered him after a visit during which the Florida coaching staff did not even know who he was. The entire experience caught Riles off guard, but in a good way.
“I hated Florida since I was a kid, but then when I went up there it was a different vibe than what I expected,” Riles said. “They have a great community, coaches, players and tradition in Gainesville. I would fit in well there and I got to know some of the guys, like Caleb Brantley, so I feel like I would be part of a strong class if I went there.”
The Georgia coaching staff is battling to keep Riles in the state, and the Bulldogs are getting some help from other Peach State prospects.
“Tray Matthews , Shaq Wiggins and Nick Glass have been on me for the longest, trying to get me to commit,” Riles said. “Really the same things I like at Florida I like at Georgia, too, and I know Coach Mark Richt, Todd Grantham and Rodney Garner are not going anywhere, so that definitely is a big plus.”
Riles recently sat down with the staff for position meetings during a junior day visit, in which the defensive coordinator mapped out just how Riles would be utilized in Athens.
“Coach Grantham said I would be a defensive end 'tweener doing most of the same stuff Ray Drew does,” Riles said.
As Riles works to improve every aspect of his game, he is also is hoping to commit by the end of the summer. He will likely continue to play on both sides of the ball, though a full-time transition to offense is not entirely out of the question.
“I still do not think I am as good as I can be," he said. "I can be faster off the ball, and stronger, so I plan to get better. I want to play defensive end, but if I need to play offensive line to help my team win, then I would do it. No college has mentioned it to me though.”