Huntington senior Kaleef Riley is headed to Wagner College to play football (2)

Senior Kaleef Riley Chooses Wagner College

Huntington senior Kaleef Riley is headed to Wagner College to play football

June 16, 2022

Kaleef Riley has become an essential figure around Huntington High School where the senior has starred on the football and wrestling teams and won over classmates and teachers with an affable personality and smile. The teenager has been recruited by Wagner College to play on its NCAA Division I football team.

“Huntington UFSD has been a great experience overall,” Mr. Riley said. “Going from playing for the PAL Huntington Bulldogs since I was five, to being on the undefeated Finley Middle School football team, then joining the Huntington Blue Devils in ninth grade and moving up to varsity in tenth grade has been the most amazing time of my life thus far. I love football. Football is my life.”  

The senior has been a solid student, but more than that he has displayed a degree of kindness, sincerity and compassion that has caught the eye of others.

“After being on the Huntington Blue Devil football team, I feel ready to enhance my talent at Wagner,” Mr. Riley said. “Huntington has given me the confidence to see myself as a valuable offensive lineman and a defensive lineman. Even with a slightly torn MCL meniscus, I went hard during practice and played my heart out in every single game. My coaches knew that I had the confidence that I would play my hardest regardless of the circumstances I was in.”

The teenager compiled a 33-6 record last winter at super heavyweight for the Huntington wrestling team and was among the top matmen in the league and county.

“Wrestling was a sport that I wasn’t too dedicated to in the beginning,” Mr. Riley said. “But the Huntington wrestling coaches saw something in me from the ninth grade. I remember one year when wrestling practice started and I was not planning on joining the team. The coaches set out to look for me and urged me to go to practice. During my senior year, I won many tournaments and I made it into the Suffolk County wrestling championships. Huntington has such passionate coaches in their athletic department. They work hard and put their all into their athletes.”

Mr. Riley is a familiar figure around town. He is well-liked and respected. “I am half African-American and half Puerto Rican,” he said. “I have traveled to Puerto Rico a few times in my life and I definitely plan to continue visiting. I have over 70 family members in Puerto Rico and my family has an amazing property that I will be bringing my future family to for vacations.”

Wagner College’s 120 acre Staten Island campus is home to 2,200 students. Many buildings are historic and they overlook the New York City skyline.

“I chose Wagner College because it has an NCAA Division I football program,” Mr. Riley said. “Going to Wagner will give me the opportunity to play a level of football that I dreamed of and will prepare me for practically my whole life. Being accepted by Wagner and making the Seahawks football team feels like a dream come true. My future plans have NFL written all over them.”