Junior defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway is used to hearing his name called.
Texas PA announcer Bob Cole has announced Ridgeway’s name over the loudspeakers at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium countless times when the defensive tackle recorded a sack or a tackle.
But the next time Ridgeway will hear his name called, it will be when he’s selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“I feel comfortable that I can go to the next level and play,” Ridgeway said. “I can play at whatever position they want to put me at.”
While Ridgeway could have stayed at Texas to play in his senior season, he isn’t looking back at his decision to declare for the NFL Draft.
“I feel that I did everything I set out to accomplish,” Ridgeway said. “I had goals, and I feel like I reached every single one of them. I have no regrets doing anything I’ve done.”
One of the biggest reasons Ridgeway decided to declare for the draft was the second round grade he received from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee. After learning about his draft stock, Ridgeway received some guidance from his former teammate Malcom Brown, who was drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round last year.
“He always gives me little pieces of advice,” Ridgeway said. “It never stops. He’s always there.”
Ridgeway broke out in his sophomore season alongside Brown racking up six sacks and 11 tackles for loss, as he quickly became one of the best interior pass rushers on the Texas defense. While his junior season wasn’t as productive as he finished with only 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, Ridgeway showed flashes of greatness in 2015, particularly against Oklahoma State where he recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
Ridgeway has proved he can be a force on the field and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford has taken notice of the 6-foot-3-inch, 303-pound defensive tackles’ level of intensity.
“If he ever gets mad, I’m going to be the first person to leave the room because he will hurt somebody,” Bedford said. “My man could be a beast.”
With the passion and tenacity Ridgeway brings to the game, Bedford said he has the potential to be a great player.
“I think he has the ability to be a special talent,” Bedford said. “He’s gotten better every single week. He is a guy that is growing, developing, he’s learning how to play the football game, and I think his future could be bright.”