The Miami football team added a potential starting safety on Saturday with the addition of Vanderbilt transfer Savion Riley. Riley recorded 48 tackles in eight games with two starts in 2023. Miami bolsters a thin safety unit that is losing starters Kamren Kinchens and James Williams to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Riley is a productive player who provides the Miami football team with length as a 6'2 safety. Miami adds Riley to a projected 2024 roster that will have four freshmen safeties. Depending on who returns for Miami in 2024, four-star freshman Zaquan Patterson and Riley would currently be the projected starting safeties next season.
Riley will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after redshirting as a true freshman in 2022. Fourth-year redshirt Sophomore Brian Balom is the only other safety listed on the Miami roster with eligibility remaining. Jaden Harris and Markeith Williams are listed more generally as defensive backs but have played safety.
Balom entered the transfer portal last year but ultimately returned to Miami. Harris and Williams are both redshirt freshmen who have the potential to develop in the future to become starters. Harris started two games this season when Kinchens was out with an injury and finished 2023 with seven tackles and a 0.5 tackle for loss.
Riley averaged six tackles per game in 2023. If he had played more than eight games, Riley would have been tied for 23rd nationally in tackles per game. Riley missed four games in 2023 with an injury. In a 38-14 loss at Florida this season Riley recorded his career high 12 tackles. Riley had at least four games with eight tackles in 2023.
Riley told On3 he chose Miami because he believes in what the Miami staff is building and it's the best place for him to be developed. As the 1,165th-ranked player, 95th safety and 115th player in Georgia in the 2022 class, Riley has significantly improved during his two seasons at Vanderbilt. Riley should continue to develop at Miami.