A transfer from Illinois State, John Ridgeway played as a part of a deep rotation that the Razorbacks used to keep their defensive line fresh. He was dominant at the FCS level, oftentimes commanding double teams. That trend continued in the SEC as Ridgeway was an issue in 1v1 situations. He was a four-year letterman in high school as a wrestler, placing fourth at State in 2016 before winning the State Championship in 2017. Also competed in discus and shot put on the track and field team. His intended major is Criminal Justice.
NT – #99 Arkansas
Year: Redshirt Junior
High School: Bloomington (Bloomington, IL)
HS Rating: 2 star (0.7903)
Phil Steele: PS#444
John Ridgeway Scouting Report
Great speed for his size. Awesome range. Very quick laterally. A strong upper body allows him to rip effectively and control tackles through the rep. Strong drive, uses his lower body relatively well to get the push he needs. At times, just used his pure brute strength to be an issue. Dominated the Texas offensive line. His first step isn’t as great as some players in this class, but it still is above average. Explosive defender. Phenomenal talent.
Will draw double teams a lot because of his size and from playing the 1T. He’s a lot to handle even in a double team. Don’t see him shed double teams as often. Good hand usage, though he could be more active with them while engaged. Very natural feel to disengaging the block and crashing on the play. Good hand strength. Strong tackler. Excellent run defender. Hits with power and shows the ability to wrap up as well. Commanding presence against the run game.
Didn’t play so much in the gaps as he did straight-up nose guarding. Strong pursuit ability because of his motor. He’s seemingly always there when working to the outside to clean up the play if the ball carrier cuts back inside. Instincts are inconsistent. At ties, Ridgeway feels the play extraordinarily well. Other times, not so well. Not a particularly strong nor consistent pass rusher.
What we want to see from John Ridgeway in Mobile
- Consistency. John Ridgeway flashed in several games this season but struggled in others. We want to see Ridgeway put it all together, dominate 1v1’s, and overall show out with a consistent performance over the week.
Pre-Senior Bowl projection
John Ridgeway projects as a rotational nose tackle who can play 0-tech and 1-tech effectively. We estimate that he can contribute in year one in a limited role before expanding in year two. The issue with the nose tackle projection is that there aren’t many teams that utilize the style that Ridgeway plays with anymore.
We project that Ridgeway will be a fourth/fifth-round pick with the potential to slide up into the third round with a solid offseason. He has good potential and should be a solid rotational starter by year three.