We’ve been hearing since spring football started that the coaches would be making a play for at least a few players at positions of need. They extended an offer to a big one Thursday.
John Ridgeway, a 6-6, 325-pounder from Bloomington (Ill.), notched 22 tackles, three tackles for loss and one pick in four games this spring at Illinois State. The former Illinois all-stater was an All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Honorable Mention selection in 2019 after starting 15 games at nose guard for the Redbirds, who ranked No. 4 in the country in scoring defense (16.0) and No. 1 in sacks (52).
Ridgeway finished the season with 50 tackles, including 28 solos,, and notched three TFLs while often facing double teams. He was initially a two-star offensive tackle who chose Illinois State over Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Western Illinois.
“Talk about an FCS star,” Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell said. “Ridgeway has gone from barely recruited to getting offers from some major programs at defensive tackle. He’s become the most popular FCS player in the portal I’ve seen.
“I took a looksee as best I could at some of his work at Illinois State, and he’s beyond active for a big lineman. The jump to Power Five will be a big one, but he has great potential.”
Ridgeway has picked up offers from Texas, Penn State, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Arizona State, Michigan and USC since entering the portal Monday, while Texas A&M, Illinois, Florida, West Virginia, Oregon, Wisconsin and LSU are also interested.
Word on the street is he is looking at depth charts, and Michigan’s has caught his eye. The Wolverines are think up front and he could become a major piece of new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s defense.
Watch for more on this development in the days to come.
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