Boise State dipped into Florida on Thursday morning for highly-touted quarterback prospect Riley Smith.
247Sports.com’s #41 pro-style quarterback and #157 prospect from the state of Florida held offers from the Power 5, Ivy League and a walk-on opportunity from the Alabama Crimson Tide.
This past season he completed 64% of his passes for 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions on a 104.1 QB rating for the 11-4 Bears who finished as MaxPreps 118th best high school football program in the entire country. Checking in a 6’5″, 215 lbs, he’d be both the biggest and tallest quarterback on the Boise State roster by seven pounds and three inches.
What do you think Boise State fans should expect from Riley from a leadership standpoint?
“Riley is a natural leader both on the field and off. He isn’t just a vocal leader but also leads by example. In the classroom he takes all AP classes and maintains a 4.2 GPA. As far as football he is the first to meetings, first in the weightroom and one of the last out, out to the field first, sets the practice tempo with his work ethic, has the ability to be vocal when needed.”
What sticks out about how Riley gels with his teammates?
“He is always with his teammates whether it is throwing after practice, going to the beach, hanging out at home, etc. He loves his team and takes pride in building relationships which is important for a QB. He even takes his offensive linemen out to eat and pays for them.”
As a student of the game and quarterback, what kind of intangibles does Riley bring to his coaches that can help with his maturation process?
“Riley is like having another coach on the field. His ability to lead, work ethic, and intellect are second to none. He is also a competitor and a winner. He stayed and competed with (teammate), Elite 11 and Under Armour All America game QB, Joey Gatewood who is signed to Auburn and earned the right to rotate series with him.”
What are Riley’s greatest athletic and mental strengths?
“His greatest athletic strength is his arm and his vision. At 6’5 he has the ability to see the field and he has the arm strength to make any throw on the field. He has also learned to use his legs to extend plays. He is a deceivingly good runner for his size. (He’s) also very strong and physical. He isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and run someone over or stand in the pocket and take a hit to make a play. His greatest mental strength is his intelligence. He is a film junkie and knows what the defense is going to do before every snap. He is a true field general and has the ability to change plays. He is also not afraid of anything. He isn’t afraid to make a mistake, he isn’t afraid to get hit, he isn’t afraid to compete and that ability allows him to play the game super fast and very confident.”
What is going to separate him from the pack on the Boise State roster, in the Mountain West Conference, and from the rest of the nation?
“His ability to compete. Most starting high school QBs are that much better than the number 2 QB. There is generally a drop off from 1 to 2. Riley played on a team with 3 division 1 QBs on it at the same time. Jordan Smith (Gardner Webb), Joey Gatewood (Auburn), and then himself being the 3rd. Most guys with his ability would transfer to somewhere they could be the full time guy but he stayed and competed. I always told him and Gatewood that no matter where they go to college they won’t have a QB as good as (each other) to compete for a spot with and they believed that. That will help in (camps at Boise State) competing for a job. He won’t be frustrated or afraid of the competition because he is (used) to it and actually welcomes it. He won’t be looking for an easy way out if he doesn’t win a job right away, he will compete and go win the job!”
How did Alabama envision using Riley compared to how Boise State will use him?
“Bama didn’t really say how they would use him. They just really like him as a player. They first noticed him when they came to watch Gatewood and left in love with him.”
Who does Riley look up to and try to model his game after at the QB position?
“Nate Peterman who played at Tennessee and then went to Pitt and is now the backup QB for the Buffalo Bills. He also played here at Bartram Trail. Him and Riley have built a great relationship and Nate has been a great mentor for him. They are very similar players.”
What’s something unique about him as a person?
“All of his intangibles. His leadership ability, work ethic, character, competitiveness, intelligence, and athletic ability. Most high level athletes possess one or two of those, it is unique to find a kid of his talent level that possesses all of that!”
How do you think he feels about Boise as a city and the coaching staff here?
“He loved the city! His biggest thing in choosing a school was he wanted to go somewhere where college football was important to the city. He could feel that as soon as he stepped off the plane in the airport. His dad is actually from the Boise area. As far as the staff he loved them and we loved them. We feel that they are a great fit to pick up where we left off and to get him to where he wants to be as a player and even more importantly as a man.”
What is your hope for him over the next four to five years?
“We hope that he develops into a great player and man, that he earns a starting job, and that he has a great college experience and earns a degree. If he makes it to the next level, great, if not we hope he becomes a great member of society who can look back on his time at Boise and say, ‘those were some of the best four to five years of my life.'”
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