Zeke Riser Interview

Zeke Riser was granted his unconditional release over the weekend and plans on transferring to a school closer to his home next season. The 6-foot-4, 255 pound former La Vernia Bear standout would have been a 5th year senior for the 2013 season.

The 6-foot-4, 255 pound former La Vernia Bear standout would have been a 5th year senior for the 2013 season. After starting all 14 games at defensive end during his true freshman season in 2009 (in which he amassed 36 total tackles including 5 for loss along with 3.5 sacks), Riser took a medical redshirt for the 2010 season because of a knee injury. He started only four games during the magical 2011 season but saw action in all 14 as he amassed 17 total tackles with 4 four loss and 3 passes defended. In 2012, Riser totaled 38 tackles including 11 for loss with 4 sacks in 9 starts. Along with starting in 27 of his 40 career games, Riser is also a two time Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient and was a member of the 2009 CUSA All-Freshman Defensive team. The following is a brief ‘Q&A’ to clear the air on his sudden departing;

Q: 2013 would have been your fifth season at UH and you most assuredly would have been a starter at one of the DE spots so why transfer now?

A: This is the exact reason why it was so hard for me to leave.  I am leaving, in an attempt to be closer to my family, wherever that may be.  I told Coach Levine that I was expecting to be a leader and a captain this year, and he agreed that he had the same expectations for me.  But my reason for leaving is out of my control.  At the time that I asked for my release, I had 3 grandparents still living.  The day after officially being released, my grandfather passed away.  It killed me.  The decision to leave is bigger than just me.  After the suggestion by my parents, due to my grandparents' health, and the eventual passing of my grandfather, it is something that just has to be done.

Q: Where exactly will you be transferring to and will you be walking on or on scholarship?

A: My first choice was to transfer to UTSA.  Being from the SA area, it just made sense.  Due to a department policy, that was declined.  Yes, I have contacted UT, as many people know, but am considering all of my options.  I would love to be on scholarship, but in some cases, like UT, I would have to be a walk on, due to a lack of scholarships.  I am also venturing to schools in the north; due to my brother-in-law recently receive orders from the USMC to be an instructor at the Naval Academy.  Having said all of that, I will end up somewhere extremely close to family in some form or fashion, regardless of whether I will be on scholarship, or paying my own way.

Q: Is it true that you graduated in two and a half years? What’s your major and is it true that one of the reasons you’re transferring is because you wanted to find a university with a Graduate degree program closer to home?

A: I graduated in three and a half years and was on the C-USA Honor Roll twice, while also being on the Dean's List and earning a 3.69 GPA in my last semester of Undergrad degree in Kinesiology- Sports Administration.  Due to my Spring enrollment, my Graduate program choices were limited, but am currently enrolled in the Human Resources Development program.  I will transfer and start over in a Graduate program more closely related to my Undergrad degree.

Q: Coming off of a 5-7 season, expectations definitely were not met last year. What’s your opinion on the new defensive staff (along with Coach Levine) and how do you think the team will fare this upcoming season?

A: The defensive staff is a very good one.  I met with Coach Gibbs and he seems to be an outstanding guy.  Coach Logo is one of the best coaches and human beings that I could have ever been around.  Seeing Coach Hall leave hurt a lot and I was sad to see him go.  His departure didn't have an effect on my decision, though.  I can't say enough of how much he meant to me and so many of the other Defensive linemen.  We still talk a couple of times a week.  When I met with Coach Levine, I told him that I didn't want to play for any other coach, and I meant it.  He is an outstanding coach and though this past season was a disappointment to us all, the program is in good hands with Coach Levine.  I have an unbelievable amount of love and respect for him. 

The defense for this upcoming season is going to be just fine.  With some good recruits and some truly talented guys up front, I have no worries.  Mark my words, Joey Mbu will be one of the best Nose Tackles that this program has ever seen.  The linebackers, like always, have tons of talent.  Derrick Matthews will continue to make plays and I expect big things from him in the future, as he continues to grow physically and gain experience.  The secondary was super young last year, but they have some super talented and driven guys in that room, so I expect tons of production from the back end.

Q: What’s your favorite memory and game as a Cougar?

A: My favorite memory was when all of the cougar fans rushed the field when we beat Tech my Freshman year.  I definitely think I took that memory for granted at the time, but looking back, it was a once in a lifetime experience and I can't begin to explain how great our fans were, especially the Coog Crew.  Taking pictures and hugging all those fans after the game is easily my favorite memory.

My favorite game was the Ticket City Bowl game from our 13-1 season.  Going against a Big 10 opponent and playing like we did, flying around and knocking guys out, was truly unbelievable.  I like to think that we proved that we should have made a BCS bowl that year.  We were a style of team that they had never seen and may never see again.  It was great to take down a big program with so much history.  That season was unbelievable and it was a great win to finish it off. 

Q: What do you want Coogfans to remember of your time here the most?

A: Believe it or not, I don't care as much about the on-the-field stats and plays as much as what I like to think I have done to make this university better.  I hope the Coog fans remember me for being a good student-athlete, rather than just a football player.  I would rather be remembered as one of the 'good guys,' than a guy who just wanted to get to the NFL.  I no longer have dreams of playing professional football.  I am looking to continue my education and leave each place better than I left it, on my way to a coaching or football management career.  I'm gonna miss UH, but will forever be a Coog and will most definitely give back to the school that has given me so much.  To the fans, thank you for all of the support through these years.  Coogs are a special breed and I thank you for all of the love that I have received.  Go Coogs!


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