Port Jefferson’s Elijah Riley is one of the best cornerbacks in all of college football right now.
And earlier this week, the senior captain for Army Football was recognized nationally for his skills.
On Monday, Army West Point announced Riley was named one of 14 semifinalists for the 2019 Paycom Jim Thorpe Award — an honor given yearly to the top defensive back in all of college athletics.
According to Paycom, the award is based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character. Notable winners of the award include Minkah Fitzpatrick (2017), Patrick Peterson (2010), and Deion Sanders (1988).
The nominees will be narrowed down to three finalists with a winner be selected on Dec. 12 during ESPN’s broadcast of the College Football Award Show.
In seven games played this year, the Newfield High School alum has recorded three forced fumbles, an interception, along with 48 total tackles.
One of his biggest games came in Week 2 against No. 7 Michigan, where the 6-foot, 205-pounder forced and recovered a fumble during a sack of Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson in the first quarter. Army went on to lose the tightly contested matchup in overtime, 24-21.
After hearing the news of the nomination, Riley was beyond ecstatic.
The 2015 Suffolk County Hansen Award winner has been a force since he’s joined the Black Knights in 2016. He’s started in 38 career games, notching 170 total tackles, with five interceptions, and 6.5 sacks.
Scroll down to see his career highlights, as well as his fellow semifinalists.
2019 Jim Thorpe Award semifinalists
- Luq Barcoo, San Diego State, Sr.
- Essang Bassey, Wake Forest, Sr.
- Douglas Coleman III, Texas Tech, Sr.
- Grant Delpit, LSU, Jr.
- Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame, Sr.
- AJ Green, Oklahoma State, Sr.
- CJ Henderson, Florida, Jr.
- Jevon Holland, Oregon, So.
- Xavier McKinney, Alabama, Jr.
- Tanner Muse, Clemson, *Gr.
- Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State, Jr.
- JR Reed, Georgia, Sr.
- Elijah Riley, Army, Sr.
- Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech, Jr