Who do you think should manage Ferriday water?|
|Ridley adjusts to LSU|
Not many players dressed out in purple and gold football uniforms on Saturday nights in the fall played in front of 250 people on some Friday nights.
But LSU redshirt freshman Stevan Ridley does not consider the fact he came from a small private school a major hurdle he had to overcome. As a matter of fact, Ridley considers playing high school football at Trinity Episcopal School a big reason he ended up with a scholarship at LSU.
"A lot of people said I would fall behind playing at a small school," Ridley said. "But I was playing both ways and everywhere, kicking, punting, returning kicks and playing linebacker. I played a lot of different positions and it made me a well-rounded athlete. I feel it was an advantage to me never coming off the field. There was no such thing as a breather when you have 15 or 17 players on your team."
And not a whole lot more in the stands.
"I really don't get caught up in that," Ridley said. "A lot of people think I cheated myself, but I just went out there and played the game, had fun, trusted in my teammates and coaches and let things work out for themselves. That was the best thing I could do."
Ridley rushed for 3,089 yards his senior season, passing for 627 and accounting for 46 touchdowns rushing. passing and receiving. Ridley was a big reason the Saints won the MPSA Class A state championship in 2006.
"I think the success we had helped me get noticed," Ridley said. "Everything fell in line. It was an awesome experience and to be able to get the opportunity to play at not only a Division I school, but one as successful as LSU makes everything even more awesome."
Even with the gaudy statistics he put at Trinity, Ridley knows there are still doubters because of the level of play he competed at with Trinity.
"My stats probably would not have been as high as if I would have been playing in Class 4A and 5A in public school, but that's not my fault," Ridley said. "It was not like I went there in the 11th grade. I started at Trinity in the second grade."
Ridley said he began looking at LSU at the end of his junior year. While his performance at Trinity certainly earned him some attention, LSU coaches became more aware of Ridley when he attended their summer camps.
"That was the big thing," Ridley said. "I knew I had to have a good camp. "Coach King always kept us in shape, if he didn't kill us. I knew coming into the camp that I would be in the best of shape. I just wanted to have fun and compete along with some of the best athletes around. It doesn't matter what school you are from, you can catch somebody's eye and earn a scholarship. Everybody is out there for the same reason."
Ridley said the contest with Huntington his senior season was one of the games he will never forget.
Huntington was ranked No. 1 in Class A, ,while Trinity was ranked No. 3.
A crowd of 1,100 flooded Trinity's small stadium to watch the Saints pull out a 16-7 win and the eventual district championship. Ridley finished with 245 yards on 36 carries
"That was a big rivalry and it was kind of different that year because they were the team everyone was talking about," Ridley said. "They brought three or four athletes and all the talk was coming from that side of the bridge. I just went out there to handle business like always and like Coach King said we let what we did on the field do our talking. It was a huge game with a large crowd. It was a great feeling and an awesome experience to get that win that football game. That night helped me grow a lot. It was one of the toughest games I've played in my career, but at the same time it was a great feeling because my dad had come all the way down from Chicago to watch me play."
The 6-foot, 235-pound Ridley said where he played high school football did not matter once he got on campus last year.
"I've always worked hard trying to make a name for myself," Ridley said. "I'm excited about the challenge of being at LSU. I felt like I was on equal ground with everybody, it was just a matter of having to work and make myself stand out. I love being the underdog, it just makes me work harder. I wasn't overwhelmed, it was more getting ready and preparing myself to a different style of practice and football."
Ridley was actually first recruited as a linebacker at LSU.
"Then they tried me at fullback and gave me a shot at tailback," he said. "I got some carries and ended up sticking there. Everybody knows LSU has multiple running backs. I know the level of play there and that's where I want to pursue my career."
While Ridley knows his carries will be limited as a red-shirt freshman behind the likes of Keiland Williams, Richard Murphy and Charles Scott, he does expect more playing time.
"That's kind of where I am, focusing on getting playing time on special teams," he said. "My goal is to start on every special team and get myself into the backfield rotation."
Ridley certainly went a long way in doing that at the LSU Spring Game in early April, rushing for 42 yards on eight attempts for the Purple team, which lost to the White team 38-10.
Ridley led the Purple team in rushing despite going against a White team defense made up primarily of starters and running behind back-up linemen.
"We talked about being the underdog in the locker room," Ridley said. "Everybody played hard. There were some holes and a lot of open green grass to run on. To see that as a running back, you want to capture that moment and make the best of it."
Ridley said the loss of quarterback Ryan Perrilloux after he was kicked off the team is just a stepping stone for the team to overcome.
"We have to move on," he said. "We can't focus on what we might have done, could have done or should have done. There was some frustration, but at the same time we have to work together to figure out our weaknesses and strengths and make the best of it. I think we have three capable young quarterbacks and somebody else is going to have to step up and make their name known. I feel we will have another strong football team. The thing here is that everybody on this team is as good as the person in front of them or behind them. A lot of people are just waiting on their chance to make a name for themselves by being a part of a solid Division I school that is always going to be competitive."
Ridley said a year under the system has been very advantageous.
"Although it's not a lot different," he said. "Coach (Tommy) Moffitt is working us hard in the weight room and getting after everybody. You have to come in willing to work. But I do know what to expect and what I need to do. I need to try and do more than that."
Ridley is not the first athlete in his family to play college football. Older brother Chad Ridley, a former quarterback at Trinity, signed a scholarship with Delta State and before being kicked off the team. Ridley transferred to Central Missouri State. Chad is currently enrolled at Southern Mississippi. He is not playing football.
"One thing Chad always told me was to keep a level head and keep working hard," Stevan said. "He is somebody I can call and talk to because he has been played college ball. He helps keep me focused on my main goals. I've learned from his good and bad experiences."
And he's learned how to adapt to football at a much higher level.
"It's hard to explain going from playing in front of 250-300 people to playing in front of 90,000-plus," he said. "You can just say it's unreal and put that in capital letters. I don't know how else to describe it."
|Frank Morris Murder Series|