Melendez had a fun Q&A with St. Francis’ Dietrich Riley, who weighed in on the USC-UCLA controversy, and where he might go

Miguel Melendez said: I got a chance to chat with St. Francis star Dietrich Riley during halftime of the Van Nuys-Pasadena basketball game Tuesday night. If you’re an avid reader of the Los Angeles Times, you’ll notice sportswriters Eric Sondheimer and Austin Knoublauch talked to several Southland high school football coaches to get their thoughts on the UCLA-USC ending last week. I asked Riley the same question and he opined on that and, among other things, gave an update on his recruiting. To Continue Q&A click thread

From The Sidelines: You were at the UCLA-USC game. What are your thoughts about all the hoopla being made about USC scoring with 44 seconds left in the game despite leading, 21-7?

Dietrich Riley: I don’t think Pete Carroll was wrong. My personal feeling is that (UCLA coach) Rick (Neuheisel) thought the game was close and within reach. I thought it was disrespectful how Stanford went for (a two-point conversion) on their home turf when they were up by 20. I thought that was disrespectful, but that’s completely different to the UCLA-USC outcome. This is a rivalry. People have to lay off of it.

FTS: USC won, 28-7, but certainly you wouldn’t call it the Trojans’ best game.

DR: I don’t think any of the teams had a great performance at all. I thought they were playing so sloppy. They were so rattled because it’s a rivalry. These guys know each other and grew up together. But I thought neither had a good performance.

FTS: Both UCLA and USC are heavily recruiting you. Because USC won are you now leaning more towards the Trojans?

DR: Not at all. I don’t want one game to impact my decision. Any team can have a bad performance. Like Tennessee. When I went on my official visit they lost to Auburn. I wouldn’t eliminate Tennessee just because they lost. And if you saw they won the following week. You have to look at it in a bigger picture than simply just one game.

FTS: You have well over 15 Division I offers, but do you have a top 5 list?

DR: I don’t. The schools I’m interested in and recruiting me the hardest is USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Cal. But Florida is there, and Oklahoma is making a huge push, too.

FTS: Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis on Monday. How much of an impact will his firing weigh in your decision whether to continue to seriously consider them?

DR: None at all.I got off the phone with them today and they have a new head coach coming in.

FTS: Did they give you any names?

DR: Not at all.

FTS: How is it Notre Dame’s still in the running?

DR: I know they’re going to have a defensive coach with a defensive mind, so that will play a great interest for me and my future.

FTS: Still, no names?

DR: None at all.

FTS: You grew up in the Pasadena area. How do you think things would have been if you would have played for the Bulldogs?

DR: It would have been great to play with all my boys, but St. Francis was the place where I wanted to be and that’s where my heart was.

Dietrich Riley played multiple positions for St. Francis, helping lead the Golden Knights (9-3) to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs. Riley had 1,320 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns. Defensively, Riley had 39 tackles and three interceptions. He’s informed From The Sidelines when he’ll make his decision, and when he does we’ll be first to report it.

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