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 putt on the track and field team. His intended major is Criminal Justice.
Year: Redshirt Junior
High School: Bloomington (Bloomington, IL)
HS Rating: 2 star (0.7903)
Phil Steele: PS#444
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NT John Ridgeway Complete Scouting Report
John Ridgeway has great speed for his size. Awesome range. Very quick laterally, especially for his size. 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.
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.
Handles himself as a good professional. Smart player. Injured in the Senior Bowl game. Returned to the game quickly. Has stayed relatively healthy his entire career. I think John Ridgeway has a high floor and a low ceiling. There’s not a lot that he can get better at, and now we have the season where we’ve seen him play at a higher level.
Nose Tackle: 68