Desmond Ridder entered his junior season with a lot to prove. In 2019, he finished the year pretty banged up physically, and on paper he had only completed 55% of his passes. While he threw 18 touchdowns, he also sent 9 interceptions to the opposition last season. No one has ever questioned Ridder’s competitive nature. And at 6’ 4” 215 lbs. with his long stride, Dez is a deceptive talent with plenty of size. However, his decision making and accuracy throwing down the field had to improve for the Bearcats to truly be a threat, nationally.
Seven games into the 2020 season, it does indeed appear #9 is improving as an all-around threat at QB1. The father-to-be has found his stride after a bumpy start to the year. Mike Denbrock is calling more plays to give Dez the option to run the ball. This has given him the confidence to make plays and the ability to stretch out the defense to open up easier passing lanes, as well.
In his last four games, #9 has racked up 886 passing yards and 8 passing TDs and 398 rushing yards and 9 rushing TDs. The last player to accumulate those numbers currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens and goes by the name Lamar Jackson.
Ridder takes notes on the sideline throughout his games in a little notebook he keeps on the bench. He jots downs trends he sees as he faces defenses and specific players throughout the game. Those notes certainly seem to be paying off now.
On the year, Desmond Ridder has thrown for 1,483 yards and 14 TDs. He has ran for another 469 yards and 9 TDs. While Dez has thrown 6 picks, 3 of those were in the South Florida game, and since that time, Ridder has caught fire. Ridder is now averaging 8.8 yards every time he decides to tuck it and run, with a long of 91 yards on the year. This is nearly double his career rushing average. He is also making quicker decisions, having just 6 sacks on the year.
Dez is on pace to improve upon his fantastic freshman year campaign. Heading the 7th-ranked team in the nation and an undefeated season, we would argue Ridder deserves a seat in New York as a Heisman Finalist. At a minimum, #9 is on track to be named AAC Player of the Year.
By Andy Smith