Height: 6'0" Weight: 238 lbs
Drafted: Fourth Round Pick, 103rd Pick Overall
Perry Alphonso Riley, Jr. is in his sixth season with the Washington Redskins and is noticing real positive change within the the organization. Here are five things you need to know about him:
#1. He is from Atlanta, Georgia and played his high school football at Stephenson in Stone Mountain, GA. He was a three star outside linebacker recruit in the class of 2006. He was the No. 59 outside linebacker and the 57th best player in Georgia. He received offers from LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech among others and chose to play for LSU.
#2. As a freshman (2006), he played in seven games and registered four tackles. The next year, he had 24 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He won a national championship that year when LSU beat Ohio State 38-24. His junior year (2008) saw a rise in production. In the 13 games he played in, he registered 60 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception and four passes defensed.
"It’s hard to explain what it’s like to win a national championship. It really is one of those things you have to experience to truly understand. It’s a great feeling because you work so hard for it. Football doesn’t just start in August when the games begin. Every year you’re faced with a long, grueling offseason and you put a lot of time and hard work into one goal – winning a championship."
"When you finally accomplish it, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s surreal. It’s so hard to explain, but your body just kind of goes numb. When the clock hits zero and you start to see the confetti and then you’re holding that crystal football, your body just goes numb. It was amazing."
He was a finalist for the 2008 Butkus Award and Defensive MVP of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in his first year as a starter for the Tigers. He had a team and career high 11 tackles including one tackle for loss in LSU's 38-3 dominating performance against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in that bowl game. Riley Jr. finished his last season (2009) as a starter for the second year in a row. He started all 13 games and ranked second on the team with 97 tackles, including 4.5 for losses. He had double figure tackles three times that year: Louisiana Tech (14), Florida (12), and Mississippi State (11).
#3. Riley Jr. was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Coming into the draft, however, he received no interest from them and expected to be drafted by either the New England Patriots or San Francisco 49ers:
"I didn’t meet with them at the combine. I didn’t talk with any of their scouts or coaches during the whole process. I didn’t have the Redskins on my radar at all."
He had to get used to not being "the guy" on defense in Washington:
"It was a big adjustment. You’re coming from your senior year where you’re the man at LSU. You’re a starting linebacker, a Butkus finalist and everyone knows your name around campus and then you’re just a special teams player. I wasn’t even dressing for some games. I was at the bottom of the food chain, trying to scratch my way up to the top. You walk in the door differently when you’re a senior starter than you do when you’re a rookie having to bring breakfast sandwiches for the rest of the linebackers."
#4. Perry Riley Jr.'s production with Redskins mirrored that of his production with LSU because he didn't do much the first year in both college and the NFL but improved tremendously year after year. His growth with the Redskins earned him a new contract and he resigned with the team in March 2014.
#5. According to Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda, Riley Jr. notices the change of the team, specifically in the defense:
"This unit is hungry -- and ready to prove it. Schematically it’s the same defense, I would say the only difference is out mindset. We have a different mindset going into this year. We’re going to be a defense that’s going to be feared. We weren't that way last year, and it wasn’t acceptable. We’re going to bring the pain. We’re going to do the hittin."
Bottom Line: I'm looking for him to become one of the leaders of this defense and show that through his production in 2015.