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Reiff making no decisions yet

This news story was published on December 29, 2011.
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By Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic, Mitchell, S.D.

Dec. 29–Riley Reiff is well aware his name is being brought up in NFL mock drafts.

The Parkston native and junior offensive tackle for the University of Iowa is ranked the eighth best college football player in the county by Scouts Inc., an ESPN company that evaluates talent in professional and amateur sports.

Besides being ranked highly by Scouts Inc., Reiff’s name is prevalent in the first round on numerous online mock drafts. ESPN college football analyst Todd McShay has Reiff going No. 10 overall to the Buffalo Bills in his first mock draft of the year that was recently released.

On Friday, Reiff and the Hawkeyes (7-5) play Oklahoma (9-3) in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. The game is at 9 p.m. and is being televised on ESPN.

Because of his high talent grade at the professional level, Reiff could play his final collegiate football game on Friday.

Reiff has the option of leaving college a year early and declaring his eligibility for the 2012 NFL Draft, or he could stay in college one more year and graduate with a degree before declaring for the draft.

“I’m going to have to sit down here after the bowl game and make a decision,” Reiff said from Scottsdale, Ariz., in a phone interview with The Daily Republic on Wednesday evening. “I’m going to have to make a decision that’s best for me. At the end of the day, it really comes down to what I want to do and what I think will be the most successful for me.”

Reiff said the reason he’s considering not entering the draft is to graduate from college. After this season, he has one more year of academics before he qualifies for his degree in health and sports studies.

“I like Iowa City,” he said. “The coaching staff here has helped me tremendously. There are a lot of things that would entice me to stick around.”

Reiff still has one year of college football eligibility left. In 2009, Reiff started 11 of 13 games as a redshirt freshman. The Hawkeyes finished 11-2 and defeated Georgia Tech 24-14 in the Orange Bowl.

It was in his redshirt freshman year that Reiff said he got his big chance. Bryan Bulaga, now a starting offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers, was playing for Iowa and got injured early in the season, giving Reiff three starts at left tackle. After playing well in Bulaga’s absence, Reiff earned starts at other offensive line positions for the final eight games when Bulaga returned.

“Everybody has chances in life and you only get one opportunity at them,” Reiff said. “If you take advantage of it, give 100 percent, you can look back and say I did the right thing and gave it all I had.”

As a sophomore, Reiff started all 13 games, and Iowa won the Insight Bowl 27-24 over Missouri.
This year, the Hawkeyes are headed back to the Insight Bowl. On Friday, Reiff is going for his third bowl-game victory.

Reiff said after the bowl game, he plans on sitting down with coaches, parents and people who he trusts to make a final decision whether or not to declare for the NFL Draft.

He said he expects to have a decision sometime in January. The 2012 NFL Draft’s first round takes place on April 26.

“It’s kind of like choosing a college and it’s a tough decision,” Reiff said. “At the end of the day, it will be my decision and I’ll do the best to do whatever I can do with it.”

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