Riley was accompanied to California by his father and PHS football coach Jim Stringer, who died Friday morning. (See related stories.)
Surgery on an injured ankle sidelined Riley Stringer for the combine’s on-field drills but shouldn’t keep the Panthers’ top two-way lineman off the field come the 2014 season.
“I know I’ll be back to 100 percent by the first or second week of September,” Stringer said. “I’ll definitely be playing in all our state games.”
Stringer tore two tendons in his ankle during a wrestling camp in Chadron, Neb., last month and cannot put any significant amount of weight on it.
While on a bench, however, Stringer could handle more weight than anyone.
His combine-high 30 repetitions of 185 pounds earned him a top performer medal. Stringer was also the top lifter at the Arizona Regional Combine in May, again posting 30 reps.
A visit to the doctor’s on Friday should provide Stringer with the go-ahead to start light acitivities.
“I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to walk with a boot by then,” Stringer said. “I’ll start rehabbing pretty hard then.”
Stringer has done all he can to continue his training while dealing with the injury.
“I still go and lift everyday,” said Stringer, though he refrains from squats and leg-intensive workouts.
The surgery is a short-term setback for Stringer, who said his ankle will be stronger in the long run.
The competition took another jump from Arizona to California, Stringer said, but he continued to hold his own.
“Everybody was definitely a little better there than they were in Arizona,” he said. “I feel like I did really well.”
Stringer said his main competition was the combine’s equipment. Players lifted on a park bench turned weight set that Stringer said resembled what you might find in a prison yard.
The bench pinched Stringer’s back each rep and was barely wide enough to keep some players from falling off.
“You really had to make sure you centered yourself on the bench because it was a pretty narrow bench,” Stringer said.
Though Stringer missed out on the combine’s other drills (40-yard dash, broad jump, shuttle jump) he feels like his performance on the bench and in Arizona will be enough to earn himself a roster spot on one of four All-American bowl teams.
“All the coaches I talked to still thought I had a good chance,” Stringer said. “I really hope I made it. I did everything I could. I definitely won’t regret it if I don’t but I am really nervous.”
Stringer said Blue-Grey Football media director Sean Ceglinsky gave him more hope.
“He told me they saw what they really needed to see in Arizona and thought I was in good shape,” Stringer said.
Stringer said his recruiting prospects can only be bolstered by his inclusion in the Blue-Grey combines.
“I think it would help to make it (the roster), but I don’t think not making it would be detrimental to my recruiting,” Stringer said. “The biggest reason I want to make it is because I want to play against the best and play in the stadium.”
The first All-American Bowl will be played Dec. 14 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the second will be played in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla., on Jan. 15.
Isaac Jefferson, a wide receiver from Rawlins and the only other Wyoming representative, posted the combine’s best broad jump with a mark of 9 feet, 11 inches.