Monday, November 28

Who is Desmond Ridder? Historic Cincinnati QB Career Leads to College Football Playoff

Desmond Ridder will be in a brighter spotlight than anyone you’ve ever seen before.

The Cincinnati senior quarterback has been as crucial a piece as any for the Bearcats as they have moved from the middle AAC team to the annual powerhouse of FBS. He and the Bearcats will now have their biggest challenge in show history as they prepare to face No. 1 Alabama in the semifinals of the college football playoffs, the first appearance by a Group of Five team in the era of the CFP.

While Ridder hasn’t always been on the big stage, he’s long been a star performer, hitting historic numbers for the Bearcats in his four years in the red and black. And after the CFP, he will turn his attention to the NFL, where he has a chance to be one of the first quarterbacks to come off the board in 2022.

Here’s everything you need to know about Ridder as he takes on the Crimson Tide.

Underrated Recruit

Ridder is seen as one of the best quarterbacks in the country, but in 2017, when he was coming out of high school, he wasn’t even one of the best players in his recruiting class.

Based on 247Sports Composite Rankings, Ridder was listed as a three-star recruit who ranked No. 1,657 in the nation, 116 among athletes, and No. 10 in the state of Kentucky.

He is the lowest rated quarterback, based on 247Sports composite rankings, to reach the CFP. However, this is the twelfth time a three-star quarterback has started in the college football playoff. There have been more teams led by three-star quarterbacks in the CFP than any other star rating (nine out of five stars and 11 out of four stars).

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Made with Flourish

Among the three-star quarterbacks, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones (2014), Alabama’s Jake Coker (2015) and Alabama’s Mac Jones (2020) have won the national championship.

Set school records

But a grade is just a number, and Ridder showed that in his case, he was well off an accurate predictor of the career he would have at Cincinnati.

Ridder wore the red jersey as a freshman in 2017, but made a big impact as red jersey freshmen starters in 2018. He completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 2,445 yards with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions, along with 150. carries for 572 yards and five more touchdowns. He was named AAC Rookie of the Year.

Ridder has only continued his dominance from there. Up to this point in his career, he has amassed 10,095 passing yards, 87 passing touchdowns, 28 interceptions and a 62.3 completion percentage. He has rushed 492 times for 2,185 yards and 28 touchdowns. Last year, he set personal records for passing yards (3,190), passing touchdowns (30), completions (234) and attempts (355), all while throwing just eight interceptions.

His passing yards are the highest in Bearcat history and his 12,280 total yards of offense are the most of any AAC player in history. His 87 touchdown passes are also the highest in Bearcat history and second-longest in AAC history behind Memphis’ Brady White. The 113 total touchdowns for which Ridder is responsible top the AAC record books.

He is currently the only active FBS player with 10,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards. according to the Cincinnati media guide. He is also the winningest among FBS active quarterbacks (44-5) and has never lost a home game (26-0).

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Ridder has been named AAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and 2021, and was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, and a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year, and Davey O’Brien Award in 2021.

Desmond Ridder NFL Draft Screening

As he has continued to wrap up an excellent career with the Bearcats, Ridder can begin to turn his attention to the professionals.

He has risen the boards of the NFL Draft in the last two seasons. Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer recently landed him 15th against the Steelers in his last mock draft.

Ridder is also currently listed as the 28th draft prospect for SN in the 2022 class, making him the fifth-highest-ranked quarterback.

If selected in the first round, Ridder would become the third Bearcat chosen in the first round, joining quarterback Greg Cook (fifth overall for the Bengals in 1969) and defensive tackle Bob Bell (21 overall. for the Lions in 1971). He could have some company in that round this year as well, as cornerback Ahmad Gardner is listed as the 23rd prospect overall and the Buccaneers are currently forecast to rank 28th overall.

Since 2012, Cincinnati has not had multiple players selected in the first two rounds of the draft in the same year: Defensive tackle Derek Wolfe and running back Isaiah Pead were selected in the second round.

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