Ridley ready for NFL Draft
LSU back says Cowboys, Lions, Rams and Pats showing most interest
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Editor
The days leading up to the NFL Draft can be a nerve-racking time for those expecting to hear their names called at the podium.
But not for LSU running back Stevan Ridley, who’s leaving Baton Rouge after amassing 1,147 yards and 15 touchdowns in his redshirt junior season.
Instead, Ridley told Tiger Rag Radio he hasn’t had any butterflies in the stomach and that he’s actually been “getting excited a little bit.”
“I’m not really too nervous because the way I look at it, with my name being called, that’s a dream come true,” explained Ridley. “I don’t really think that’s anything to get nervous about.”
After all, the largest obstacle to overcome for Ridley was in the actual decision to leave. On Tuesday night, he took myself and co-host Jeff Palermo through that process, explaining that watching Charles Scott a year prior did have some bearing on his decision making.
“After seeing Charles go down - and he was a possible first rounder, second or third-round for-sure guy - breaks his collarbone and it shows you in a split second how things can change,” said Ridley. “He ended up being a free agent. And Charles is still the same back as he was his junior year, he can still run the same. But one injury can knock you out of achieving your dreams or really even getting into a position to come in there and produce on a team. So for me, after seeing that one year previously, my decision for that issue as far as injuries are concerned was pretty easy for me to say that I really need to come on out.
“For me to come back and up my stock that much more, I’d probably have to have a 1,400 or 1,500-yard season, and everybody knows that LSU rolls about four or five running backs (deep). So the chances of me upping my stock to that level were not looking that great. And even if they did give me the carries to up my stock, that’s another year of wear and tear on my body. I really didn’t need that playing in the SEC … For me, I decided to make the gamble. I don’t know if it’s the right decision or the wrong decision, but the decision is made.”
With his mind made up, the Natchez, Miss., native then went about the business of draft preparation. According to Ridley, he first went down to Miami and trained with Patrick Peterson’s father — alongside Pat, of course — up until the NFL Combine in late February.
From that point, the LSU back ran us through the rest of the drill, giving ample kudos to Tigers’ strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt.
“After the combine, I came back to Baton Rouge and got in there (the weight room) with Coach Moffitt,” Ridley continued. “Coach Moffitt is the best in the business. There’s no reason to go anywhere else and train anywhere else. If you think about the guys who are actually here, it’s probably anywhere from 10 to 15 active NFL guys who come back to Baton Rouge to train every year. Really, I’ve just been right here training with the guys who are preparing to play this year.”
As for whether or not there will be a next year on NFL gridirons, Ridley assured that the possibility of a lockout was one he studied hard before finalizing his decision. His outlook as a result is fairly entertaining.
“I kinda knew that before I entered into the draft,” said Ridley. “That was one of the issues that I was looking at to see if it was a smart move to come out with the lockout. The way I look at it I’ve been playing the sport for free the last 15 years of my life. So, I hadn’t had a paycheck yet anyway.
“I go about it a different way. For me, if I just continue to do the things that have gotten me to this point in my career, I don’t really have anything to worry about. When they get the lockout figured out, they’ll get it figured out. NFL football is not over. I know at some point in time they’re going to get it all squared away, but until then I’ll be working out and I’ll be ready to go the day that they call my name and tell me to come into the facility. I’ll be hitting the ground running.”
Ridley wrapped up the interview (FULL AUDIO CLIP AVAILABLE BELOW) by providing a glimpse into which teams have shown the most interest to date.
“I would have to say the Cowboys and also the Detroit Lions, the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots.”
LSU’s lead back dove into much more, including where he thinks he’ll be selected and who has comprised his inner circle of advisors the past few months. Be sure to listen in below for the full interview.
CLICK HERE to listen to Tiger Rag Radio’s interview with Stevan Ridley in its entirety.
The NFL Draft begins Thursday night with the first round, running from 7 - 10:30 p.m., and will be televised on ESPN and the NFL Network. Coverage will continue into Friday evening with the second and third rounds (5 -9:30 p.m.) and Saturday with rounds four through seven (11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.)