Pros and Cons to 4-Star WR Calvin Ridley's Top Schools
Calvin Ridley is a 4-star receiver from Florida and a great playmaker. At 6'2" and 170 pounds, the long-framed Ridley has smooth athleticism and sudden quickness.
After he displays sharp cutting ability to get out of his breaks, Ridley's long arms allow him to reach out and pluck balls while on the move. Ridley is a coveted prospect; however, a trio of schools are out in front, says Matt Shodell of CaneSport.com (subscription required).
Another pair of elite programs have joined the mix, according to Woody Womack of Rivals.com (subscription required). With so many excellent programs after him, Ridley is going to have to weigh the pros and cons of each school before he makes a decision.
Tennessee is a program on the rise, as head coach Butch Jones has set his program up for future success by recruiting well since his arrival in Knoxville in 2013. Ridley would join a young team that has a bright future. Plus, the Volunteers are not afraid to play freshmen.
Ridley's skill set would complement fellow 4-star receiver Preston Williams well, and it's only a matter of time before Jones brings in an elite quarterback prospect. Ridley would also get to play in the competitive SEC.
The Vols are young, reloading and rebuilding, which means they're not on top of the SEC right now. Ridley will have to decide if he wants to help build something at Tennessee, or go sustain a winning culture somewhere else.
Perhaps the biggest draw for Clemson regarding Ridley is 2014 4-star quarterback Deshaun Watson. With Ridley being a receiver, he needs to make sure whichever school he chooses has a talented young passer.
Clemson has one in Watson. Next, head coach Dabo Swinney and staff promote a family culture around the program and in the community, and the campus is said to be easy on the eyes. The Tigers are also one of the top programs in the ACC and are coming off an Orange Bowl victory.
For some reason, Clemson still doesn't get the national respect it deserves, which hurts it on the recruiting trail. While the Tigers belong among the elite, they're widely perceived to be a notch below ACC rival Florida State and the neighboring SEC programs in their region.
Miami is getting back to its old ways, and Ridley could be one of the final pieces to get the Hurricanes over the hump. Hailing from Coconut Creek, Ridley would be able to stay close to home by signing up to catch passes in Coral Gables.
Head coach Al Golden has signed two solid quarterbacks in his past two recruiting classes, so Miami is set up well under center. The Hurricanes have a great history of winning, as well as putting players into the NFL. Early playing time is also a great possibility.
Miami is still a respected program, but it's no longer feared. The Hurricanes have only been to one bowl game in three seasons under Golden's guidance.
Woody Wommack of Rivals.com (subscription required) wrote on March 23:
It doesn't appear any of the programs have an edge, but in the end, distance could be a factor when it comes time for a decision.
For starters, it helps that the Seminoles are coming off a national championship season. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has established himself as one of the best head coaches in the business, and he's an outstanding recruiter.
Fisher, who is an offensive-minded coach, would know how to get Ridley the football in different ways. The 4-star receiver would also be surrounded by incredible talent on both sides of the ball and would be competing for ACC and national titles throughout his tenure in Tallahassee.
While Florida State did sign 4-star quarterback JJ Cosentino in 2014, Ridley likely will not get a chance to play with Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston will more than likely say all of the right things this spring and summer, but it would be shocking if he didn't opt for the NFL after this season.
The other main obstacle for Ridley at FSU would be the depth chart, as it will not be easy getting on the field as a true freshman.
Alabama is one the premier programs in the country. It's always in the hunt for an SEC and national title, and it's respected around the country.
Head coach Nick Saban has won three national titles since coming to Tuscaloosa before the 2007 season. Saban is one of the best recruiters in the country, and he knows how to prepare his players for the NFL.
Alabama also has an impressive depth chart of talented quarterbacks, which should help entice Ridley. The roster is full of exceptional talent, and the fans and facilities are both elite.
Ridley likely would not get on the field much as a true freshman. Alabama's offense is a run-first attack, so when he does see the field, he may not be as productive as he's capable of being.
The program is as demanding as there is in the country and requires great focus, determination, discipline and commitment. Ridley needs to make sure it's the right fit and culture for him.