John Ridgeway

John Ridgeway

  • Height
  • Hand
  • VJ
  • Weight
  • Arm
    33 3/8
  • Speed
DT Combine Averages
  • Height
  • Hand
  • VJ
  • Weight
  • Arm
  • Speed
Tolbert Nance - Scout
John Ridgeway
  • Overall Rank
  • Position Rank
  • Position
  • Age
    23.1 Years
  • Team


Year Games Played Tackles TFL Pressure % Sacks Misc. Stats
2018 (FCS) 11 30 2 3.1% 1 1 FR
2019 (FCS) 15 50 3 4.9% 0 2 PD, 1 FF
2020-2021 Spring (FCS) 4 22 3 6.3% 0 1 INT, 2 PD
2021 12 39 4 4.4% 2 -


Does he have prototype size? What is body type? What is growth potential?

John Ridgeway is a large, burly individual with a fully filled out frame with outstanding height and above the line weight. Possesses adequate overall length with adequate arm length, above the line shoulder width, and above the line hand size. Not an overly muscularly defined individual and has some bad weight mostly stored in his belly and sides. Very round hips. Played through a hand/thumb injury in 2021 Spring season. Had an appendectomy before the season opener in 2021 v Rice (9/4/21), but didn’t miss another game after that. Otherwise, has been a very dependable player, playing in 42 of 43 career opportunities (redshirted his FR year, therefore those games aren't counted).

  • Size
  • Length
  • Frame/Durability
Grade 7.0


Is he instinctual? Does he play with urgency?

John Ridgeway has above the line toughness, flashing a mean streak of crushing OL with his initial striking power, which allows for him to win v R/P at times. Flashes physicality and ability to drive his feet on contact, but lower body strength limitations limit what he can do ultimately. Average instincts with adequate read/diagnose v Run to keeps his eyes up (getting his head around blockers) and find the ball carrier (had a few plays where he couldn't work back his body under control, so he threw his body utilizing his length in the direction of the ball carrier and was actually able to make a stop). Regardless, not a very instinctual player off the ball with his get off and therefore especially has limitations v Pass (wins primarily as a bench-pressing bull rusher). Possesses average effort/motor, working hard at times while at other times, losing his edge including in the 2nd half of the snap v Pass if he doesn't win early. Won't see him chasing outside the box (did v Texas a little but otherwise didn't show it). Looked lazy and got pushed off the ball quite often.

  • Toughness
  • Instincts
  • Effort/Motor
Grade 5.7


Does he have the athletic traits you want?

John Ridgeway is an explosive upper body player that lacks that same explosiveness in his lowers, which creates an interesting dynamic where he can win early at times while getting blown off the ball in other instances without ability to recover due to lack of suddenness/twitch (do believe he has ability if he develops the right habits/FBIQ in the NFL). Relatively slow 1st 2 steps compared to most DL, which hurts his get off along with his lack of anticipation. Possesses limited speed and will rarely make plays outside the box, lacking the physical traits to cover ground effectively along with a lack of effort to work there. Limited body control, struggling to maintain his ground while too often playing with poor leverage. Limited flexibility/bend and doesn’t show ability to bend a corner or work underneath OL. Poor COD and doesn’t flash too much there. Adequate play strength, going hand in hand with his inconsistent explosiveness. Can maintain and lock out on blocks while flashing ability overpower 1v1s but has to bring it more often to believe he could do it well enough at the next level.

  • Explosiveness
  • Speed
  • Body Control
  • Flexibility/Bend
  • Change of Direction
  • Play Strength
Grade 4.2


Does he have a refined skill set? Is he a projection or is his game developed enough to contribute early?

John Ridgeway has limited get/off and initial burst and rarely ever is an anticipatory player off the ball. Pops his pads right up off the ball and possesses a slow 1st 2 steps compated to most DL, which hurts his get off as well (along with any projection for it to improve). Limited pass rush ability due to lack of twitch/suddenness (limited) along with limitations in moves other than ability as a true bull rusher (does occasionally flash a Swim move to try and get off of blocks, but takes too much force back due to leverage and overexaggeration). Possesses outstanding heavy handedness to be able to sustain and lock out on blocks (inconsistencies with play strength come from his lowers not his uppers). Adequate POA ability with flashes of success, but gets pushed off the ball too much to trust any more. Takes elongated steps that can throw him off balance as well. Don’t perceive him having ability to consistently play against Double Teams. Struggles to disengage especially when playing against better length and has slow UOH and block destruction (will get locked on with complete inability to get off). Wins with bench press power not finesse. Poor closing speed and doesn’t play outside the box. Average play temparement.

  • Get Off/Initial Burst
  • Pass Rush
  • Heavy Handedness
  • Point of Attack
  • Disengage
  • Closing Speed
  • Twitch/Suddenness
  • Play Temperament
Grade 4.6

Grading Scale

  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
    Above the Line
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1


What role does he play? What is his initial projection?
RSR who has started 40-42 career games, including 11 of 12 in 2021. 2-star HS prospect who was labeled as an OL coming out and had no other offers except for Illinois State. After signing with Illinois State, redshirted his FR year (2017) before starting 10 of 11 games his RFR year (2018) on the way to FCS Freshman All-America honors by Phil Steele along with being on the MVFC All-Newcomer team. Followed up his breakout 2018 with an even better 2019 season (RSO year), starting in all 15 games at NT [playing on a defense that ranked #4 in the country in scoring defense (16.0) and #1 in sacks (52) in the FCS] while earning All-MVFC Honorable Mention honors. Started all 4 games for the 2021 Spring season (RJR season), averaging over 5 tackles/game while playing through a hand/thumb injury. Earned All-MVFC 1st Team honors in 2021 Spring. Transferred from Illinois State to Arkansas prior to the 2021 season (RSR season). Made an immediate impact at the FBS/SEC level, starting in 11 of 12 games (missed season opener v Rice on 9/4/21 due to an appendectomy during game week). Senior Bowl attendee. Played under HC Sam Pittman (2nd season), DC/AHC/SAF Coach Barry Odom (2nd season), and DL Coach Derrick LeBlanc (2nd season). John Ridgeway is a 0-1-Tech NT in a 3-4 Base, 2-Gap scheme. Situational 2-Gap NT you can win with despite of (would like better, but do perceive there is developmental upside). Burly, high-cut individual who flashes ability as powerful striker at the POA in the Run game while also flashing ability as a bull rusher v Pass (doesn’t provide much else). Shouldn’t be expected to provide much outside the box or in terms of versatility. Leverage issues will be a big issue along with his get off. Ridgeway is a better version of what Noah Elliss offers this cycle considering the level of competition he faced/succeeded against his RSR year in the SEC along with having more length.

Film Watched

  • iconBest Game
  • v Texas
  • Sep - 11 - 2021
  • Best game in Pass Rush / Finishing on tackles / Relatively highly productive game
  • iconWorst Game
  • AT Ole Miss
  • Oct - 09 - 2021
  • Complete non-factor v a perimeter oriented team / DNP as much toward the end of the game
Best Trait
Punch / Size
Pro Comparison
Dominique Hamilton (2012 UDFA)