FAYETTEVILLE — When John Ridgeway entered the transfer portal from Illinois State he opted to play at Arkansas.
It has been a very good match for both and Ridgeway said recently he hasn’t ruled out playing another season with the Hogs. He has accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl which obviously he would cancel if he opts to play another year at Arkansas. But regardless of next year, Ridgeway admits the year at Arkansas was everything he thought it would be.
“Yeah, it was nice,” Ridgeway said. “I wasn’t really thinking I was going to have a good year just because of making that big jump from a low-level DI to the biggest stage of college football. So I’m glad of what I put on tape. I thought I represented myself and Arkansas really well this year and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
In 11 games, Ridgeway has 39 tackles, including 11 solo, four for loss, two sacks and a quarterback hurry. Not only did he get play at Arkansas, but will also experience what it’s like to play in a New Year’s Day bowl game in Florida.
“It means a lot to me,” Ridgeway said. “I came to a program that’s had ups and downs in in the past, and then we came together as a team and made it happen. As soon as I got here to Arkansas, I knew this team was special. I knew we had the pieces to make this a championship team and go to a bowl game, and sure enough we made it.”
Playing for Sam Pittman has made the experience of playing at Arkansas in the SEC even better.
“He’s had a really good role in my life,” Ridgeway said. “I was at a Division I-AA school before this, barely getting looked at by the NFL, and just getting looked at in general. And I made the big step to come up here, and it’s just boosted my potential and my confidences, and my draft stock as well. He went out on a limb to give a low-level D-Lineman a shot, and I’ve made the best of it.”
Ridgeway was a wrestler in high school and teammate, offensive tackle Dalton Wagner, recently signed on with the WWE. Ridgeway was asked if he had messed around wrestling anyone on the Hogs?
“No, I haven’t really messed around with anybody wrestling on the team.” Ridgeway said. “I think everyone knows maybe not to wrestle me. I don’t know. I mean, we can try. But, WWE that’d be cool. I could John Cena somebody or Randy Orton somebody, RKO somebody you know. But I’d do it, but I’d rather play football than that.”
Wagner jokingly gave a shout out to Ridgeway while on with Finebaum. Ridgeway responded.
“Yeah, that’s cool,” Ridgeway said. “I appreciate it, but I think he’s barking up the wrong tree trying to wrestle me.”
Ridgeway, Wagner and the remainder of the Razorbacks will face Penn State on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. (CT) in the Outback Bowl televised on ESPN2.