When teams improve, they get a light shone on them that lets their diamonds in the rough shine through and that is what is starting to happen at Cardinal with several players headed off to extend their careers as student-athletes at colleges around the nation.
One of the latest signees is Comet senior Braden Ridgway who is headed to Cedar Rapids in the fall to play linebacker for Coe.
Along with the Kohawks, Ridgway was initially looked at by Drake before that “fizzled out” according to Braden, Simpson, Loras, Dordt, Clarke and St. Ambrose.
“Originally, Coe wasn’t even on my radar,” admitted the former freshman safety-turned-outside linebacker. “Then we took a couple of visits there and I felt like I connected with the professors and they gave me a pretty good deal financially, so that was probably what helped me make that decision.”
Ridgway, who started playing the game at age 5, credits his entire high school coaching staff at Cardinal for helping him get to this point and has also relied heavily on his older sister Delaney who is a junior at Iowa State.
“My sister helped motivate me a lot,” said Ridgway. She always makes sure I know what I should be doing and I’ve always been an [University of] Iowa guy and now that my sister is at ISU, I root for them both.”
Braden is also going to miss his parents’ guidance and home-cooked meals.
“My parents helped me out a lot, just by pushing me,” said Ridgway. “Mom has cooked a lot of meals and helped me gain weight and my dad has also been a good role model, playing football himself in college at Iowa Wesleyan. I’m sure I’ll still gain a freshman 30 with the team buffet. I’ll miss my mom’s spaghetti, steak, chicken Alfredo, homemade mash potatoes, the basics.”
If Ridgway doesn’t end up playing for his Seahawks in Seattle, he could see himself working for a startup in Southern California after completing his degree from Coe in Business Analytics.
On the field, some initial fears that come with moving up in leagues have been calmed.
“I was a little afraid that I would have to face some massive running back, but I’ll adjust,” said Ridgway with a smile. “It won’t be that bad.”