Who is Desmond Ridder? Cincinnati QB puts a cap on career in College Football Playoff

    Desmond Ridder is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in college football history, but his career certainly didn't start that way.

    If you didn’t already know by now, Desmond Ridder is special. The Cincinnati quarterback is the winningest active quarterback and has a slew of Bearcats records under his belt. As he looks to put a cap on his brilliant Cincinnati career with a College Football Playoff run and potential National Championship, we take a look back at how he got here and just who the man is under center.

    Who is Desmond Ridder?

    At 6’4″, 215 pounds, Ridder is one of just three quarterbacks in college football history to win at least 44 games as a starter.

    Ridder is the reigning, back-to-back American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He’s Cincinnati’s career passing touchdown leader with 87 career touchdowns.

    Ridder is also the first-ever player to record more than 12,000 yards from scrimmage, and his 12,281 total yards are the most in Cincinnati history. Taking things even further, he’s the only active player with more than 10,000 passing yards and more than 2,000 rushing yards in his career.

    And oddly enough, we should’ve seen this coming from Ridder.

    Humble beginnings bred immediate success for Ridder

    It wasn’t all roses for Ridder coming out of high school. In fact, Cincinnati and then-offensive coordinator Zac Taylor stood as the only major college football program who offered Ridder a scholarship. Taylor, of course, has since become the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, but one coach has remained constant for Ridder: Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell.

    Under Fickell, Ridder redshirted his first season on campus in 2017, taking a year to learn college football and acclimate himself to the game. That year off worked — if the 2018 season is any indication. All Ridder did in his first year as the starting quarterback was win AAC Rookie of the Year and lead the Bearcats to an 11-2 record.

    That fabulous rookie year paved the way for an 11-3 record in 2019, a 9-1 record in 2020, and an undefeated 13-0 season so far in 2021. Lest we forget, the Bearcats actually finished the 2020 campaign undefeated at 9-0 but were left out of the College Football Playoffs in the COVID-19-shortened season.

    No matter which way you slice it, this Bearcats team has been truly terrific with Ridder at the helm throughout his career.

    Could Desmond Ridder be a top QB for the NFL Draft?

    As great as he is as a college football quarterback, Ridder’s next logical step seems to be moving to the NFL, right? Absolutely. But he doesn’t come as airtight as his college résumé may suggest. There are concerns over Ridder’s accuracy and, at times, his ability to make “NFL throws” to all levels of the field.

    Though we can debate whether or not Ridder will be a first-round pick all the way until April, one thing remains constant with Ridder’s evaluation — whichever NFL team drafts the Cincinnati QB will be getting one of the most experienced quarterbacks in history. That experience could pay dividends for him at the next level.

    It certainly will help him when he’s down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl in just a month’s time. But until then, Ridder is focused on winning a College Football Playoff game or two.

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