Rios establishes himself as a top recruit

McNary linebacker Dyami Rios has taken unofficial visits to four Pac-12 schools so far this fall and is considered one of the best in-state recruits for the class of 2021 (File).

In the current local recruiting landscape, McNary running back Junior Walling and quarterback Erik Barker have received a lot of attention from college scouts in 2019.

Walling committed to play at Oregon State University in June, while Barker has received offers from a couple of Division I-AA schools. 

But one kid who has quietly become one of the best players in the state is McNary junior Dyami Rios. 

For the second straight season, Rios received second-team all-league status at linebacker, leading the team with 97 tackles. He also was named first-team all-league at tight end and helped the Celtics win the Mountain Valley Conference.

“I know I don’t get brought up as much as (Walling and Barker). But it doesn’t bother me because I know people that know the game and watch football a lot, they notice me and they notice that I’m doing big things on the field,” Rios said. “I’m proud of where I am at, and I don’t need outside people telling me whether I’m doing well or not.”

Even though Rios may not receive as much notoriety as a pair of his teammates, his play has garnered attention from some big schools on the west coast. 

So far this fall, Rios has taken two unofficial visits to the University of Oregon and Oregon State. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, he also took visits to the University of California (Berkeley) and Stanford University. 

During these visits, Rios gets to not only tour the campuses, but also be on the sideline at games, chat with coaches and learn more about the football program. 

“It’s been a lot of fun. I have been watching all of these Pac-12 schools on TV for most of my life, so to be able to check out different places and talk to their coaches and try on their gear has been amazing,” Rios said. 

On his visits to both Oregon schools, Rios walked away impressed with what each program had to offer.

“Oregon State has a great family environment. It’s really tight-knit. Their program is rebuilding right now, so if I could be a part of it, that would be big,” Rios said.

“At Oregon, it’s all really impressive. They have some expensive facilities. They have some technology I’ve never seen before. I know it’s a top program, so it would great to have an opportunity to go there.”

One of the things that separates Rios from others is his versatility. While his primary position is linebacker, Rios made a transition on the offensive side of the ball from running back to tight end. 

Even though Rios wasn’t involved in the Celtics passing attack, the move to tight end, which was initially made by McNary offensive coordinator Brad Emmert, gave a boost to the McNary offense. The Celtics averaged more than 35 points per game during league play. 

“Emmert told me that I wasn’t going to get a lot of routs but he thought that I was the best blocker on the team and that I could have a lot of success,” Rios said. “If I can block and help the team, I really don’t care if I’m getting touchdowns or not.” 

On the defensive side, Rios feels like he showed improvement from his sophomore year, coming away with 28 more tackles than he did the previous season. 

“He loves to mix it up and be as physical as possible and he’s got really good instincts. The sky is the limit for that kid,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said of Rios. 

While Rios has proven himself to be an exceptional football player, what he does in the classroom is arguably even more impressive. 

Currently, Rios maintains a grade-point-average of 4.18, while taking multiple accelerated placement (AP) classes and being a part of National Honor Society. His plan is to major in psychology as a part of a pre-law program, then eventually go to law school after completing his undergrad. 

“I’m really passionate about law, but psychology also really interests me because of the study of the human brain and how it works,” Rios said. 

It can be a chore to maintain such high academic standing while training, going on recruiting trips and playing multiple sports — Rios is also one of the top athletes on the McNary track team. But despite his busy schedule, Rios finds a way to juggle all of his responsibilities effectively. 

“It can be a lot to manage everything at times, especially with my AP classes. I have to know when I need to do homework and when I need to go the gym and when I need to watch film,” Rios said. “It’s about knowing what I need to get done and knowing when my deadlines are.”

Rios is hoping to get an official offer by the time spring rolls around. So during the offseason, he has the goal to prepare himself for the next level — even though he still has another year of high school football to play.

“I want to get my body more ready to play college football,” Rios said. “I played at 220 (lbs.), and I want to be 230 for next season. My goal is just to get stronger and faster.”