MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With summer workouts in full-sweat and the start of West Virginia preseason camp less than 40 days away, MetroNews continues counting down our Top 10 Most Pivotal Players for the 2014 season. Today we highlight a summertime find from the transfer ranks:

Position: Defensive end
Class: Senior
Measurables: 6-6, 245

As West Virginia sought to compensate for the graduation of sack leader Will Clarke, spring practice didn’t reveal many answers. Then came the May announcement that a Gardner Webb defensive end with FCS All-American credentials was headed to Morgantown.

A rangy late-bloomer who could have entered the NFL draft, Riddick chose to follow the graduate transfer route in hopes of proving himself in the FBS. Though probably too light to make any All-American teams at the major-college level, he could be a game-changer for a sack-thirsty Mountaineers defense. Riddick made 19 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks last season, including two against Marshall—a performance that indicates his pass-rushing skills can translate.

Another indicator? UCLA offered Riddick the day before he committed to West Virginia and Ohio State had begun calling to gauge his interest in coming to Columbus. If not for some quick relationship-building by new defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, it’s likely Riddick wouldn’t have considered WVU (which wasn’t initially on the list of schools to which he sent a release).

While making 69 tackles in 2013, Riddick wasn’t merely a pass-rush specialist. But he clearly liked the scheme Gibson pledged to implement for him—lined up wide and cocked on the side opposite the tight end.

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    WVU needs a push up front and I hope this kid can help WVU in this area of need.

    stay in your lanes and push up field boys!!!!!

    Keep your eyes open and your mouth running the whole game!!!!!!

    TODAY WE FIGHT!!!!!!!


  • mad hatter

    just wondering the moderation status

  • any major dude

    I'll go with Allan's top 10 most pivotal but my top 20 list would include defense, defense, defense, defense, defense, defense, defense, defense, defense, and defense.

  • Mike

    My top 10 list of pivotal Mountaineer players this year is Trickett, Trickett, Trickett, Trickett, Trickett, Trickett, Trickett, Trickett, Trickett, and Trickett.

  • In da stickes

    In Gibby we trust. What choice do we have?

  • DWM

    I'm normally a glass half full guy when it comes to the Mountaineers at this time of the year. But if Allan is right and this guy is critical to our success, I don't like the idea of a significant portion of our season relying on a 1st year transfer moving up a division.

    I think he may be right, that this guy or someone else has to step up and create a pass rush, but to think we'll catch lightning in a bottle again like Bruuuce, well, I don't even have that much optimism.

    • Aaron

      Another comment awaits moderation. I'm not sure what's going on today.

    • Aaron

      I disagree as college football is rife with graduate transfers similar to Mr. Riddick. WV couild very well see on in Alabama QB Jacob Coker, who like Clint Trickett did not want to set behind Jamis Winston so he transferred upon graduation and will likely be the starter when they face WVU in Atlanta.

      In addition to Coker, there is a host of transfers who are ranked and for many of those players looking to make an impression on NFL scouts like Riddick, WVU can be a good fit, particularl for defensive players. With little depth they will get a chance to play considerable minutes and with WVU competing in the Big 12, they will get a chance to showcase their talents against pro-style teams.

      This is an area that in my opinion WVU would be wise to keep an eye on these type players and without violating NCAA rules, let it be known that Morgantown is a great place to pursue a Master's Degree.

    • Mitch

      @ DWM,

      So you have no trouble believing what Bruce Irvin did coming from JC and moving to a new position, but you can't believe this guy who has played this position his whole college career and played it well enough to be listed as a 3rd round NFL draft choice will be able to? Uh.....o.k.
      Have you looked at his film?

  • Mitch

    @ Allan,

    "Too light to make any AA teams"....HUH? He's exactly the same weight as Bruce Irvin.
    That's a pretty broad-brush statement with no real supporting evidence.

    • Aaron

      He's also the same weight and height as Jadeveon Clowney, a fact I pointed out in a post that sets awaiting moderation.

  • any major dude

    Looks like a good pickup. Looking forward to seeing him do his thing. Hope those stats translate well into D1 play. I think they will, seeing as how he's one year older,stronger and wiser.

  • Aaron

    "Though probably too light to make any All-American teams at the major-college level,..."

    While I am not trying to compare his athletic ability to that of Jadeveon Clowney, the former All American from South Carolina weighted in at 249 pounds.

    As to Riddick, I think he has to the potential to be a really good pass rusher in the 3 man front that WVU runs and can help WV's defense vastly improve.

  • jfk

    currently he is not on the roster, hope he does enroll!

    • BL

      From what I've seen he is on campus, but isn't registered yet as he has to complete seminar credits or something like that at G-Webb before he can officially graduate.

    • Aaron

      Given the interest he turned down, I'm sure he will but it does make me wonder if as a graduate transfer, could he not take his talents elsewhere or is his commitment binding.

      Perhaps that is something Mr. Taylor could address.

  • FNP

    He'll be a good addition to the Gibby Defense. He wont be an every down player until he can prove he is one at the D1 level. But i definitely think he'll be disruptive and will put pressure on the QB.

  • richard

    he's going to be good. really good.