Shutdown corner. Fierce tackler. Game changer.
Elijah Riley is one of Army’s most talented cornerbacks in the last decade at West Point.
Riley was recognized as one of the top defensive players in the nation Tuesday. The senior captain was one of 92 players named to the watch list for Bronko Nagurski Trophy given to the country’s best defender.
Coach Jeff Monken recently summed up Riley’s impact on Army’s pass defense, saying, “He consistently shuts down his side of the field when he battles against our opponent’s top talent.”
Riley’s coverage skills were on display at Oklahoma last season. The three-year starter held first-round draft pick and all-American Marquise “Hollywood” Brown without a catch for the first time in his college career.
One of Riley’s 55 tackles last season was a bone-jarring hit on a 2-point conversion run that finished Army’s double-overtime win over Miami (Ohio).
Riley, who was originally recruited as a safety out of Newfield High School on Long Island, is listed at 205 pounds on Army’s 2019 roster. That may be his freshman weight. Riley, who was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list last week, is the most physically-gifted cornerbacks that I’ve seen at Army in my 12 years covering the program. He plays the position with a safety’s mentality.