ORLANDO, FL (WAFB) - LSU senior linebacker Duke Riley will take the field for the LSU one final time on December 31 and he wants it to be a special one.
Riley will wear slain NFL player Joe McKnight's number, 4, during the Citrus Bowl game to honor his legacy.
McKnight was killed on Dec. 1 in New Orleans in an alleged road rage incident. McKnight was born in River Ridge, a suburb of New Orleans, and starred at John Curtis Christian High School, Riley's former school.
He was considered the No. 1 running back recruit in the country when he signed with USC. McKnight wore No. 4 at John Curtis and then during his collegiate career at Southern Cal. McKnight went on to play for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, wearing No. 25.
Riley says McKnight was like a brother to him and was his biggest role model.
"People say legends never die so I'm wearing this No. 4 jersey for Joe McKnight (tomorrow) against Louisville," Riley says.
Riley, who ranks 2nd on the team with 85 tackles, was recently named LSU's most valuable player for the 2016 season.
"Joe meant everything to me. Honestly, I wanted to be a baseball player and then I saw what he could do with a football and how he could change the view of kids my age with a football in his hand. I know football meant everything to him. It was his life and he made football my life.
Riley, who is a four-year letterwinner for the Tigers, has worn No. 40 for every contest of his career with the Tigers.
The Tigers and Cardinals meet at 10 a.m. on New Years Eve in the Citrus Bowl, a game that will be televised on ABC from Camping World Stadium in Orlando.