Kevin Riley was quarterback at Beaverton High School when he went to a football combine in the San Francisco Bay area and caught the eye of California coach Jeff Tedford. Now a junior, Riley returns to his home state as the starter for sixth-ranked California on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. It's been a bumpy ride for Riley, who wasn't on Cal's radar when Tedford noticed him at that combine in 2005.
He had already gotten attention in his home state. The son of Beaverton high's coach, Riley passed for 2,580 yards his senior season. "He had a lot of zip on the ball," Tedford said. The coach went back to Cal and looked at film, liking what he saw. And it ultimately led to Riley selecting Cal over both Oregon and Oregon State.
His first two seasons, Riley competed with Nate Longshore—at times successfully, and other times not so much. Riley was a redshirt freshman in 2007 when he made his first start (Longshore was injured) against Oregon State. Although he completed 20 of 34 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns, he made a judgment error in the final seconds that cost Cal the victory. With the Bears trailing 31-28, Riley orchestrated a drive that took Cal down to the Oregon 10. But instead of throwing the ball away to set up a game-tying field goal, Riley was tackled inbounds.