The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Riddick brings big-time versatility to the Irish recruiting class. He's got potential to play running back, cornerback, safety, or even wide receiver. Regardless of where he plays, one thing is for sure, Riddick is an athletic upgrade for the Fighting Irish football team.
Riddick is a very good athlete. The first things you notice when you watch his film is his outstanding quickness and his change of direction ability. In the open field Riddick is very sudden. He flies in and out of cuts, maintains his speed, and is very difficult to get a solid shot on.
The shifty Riddick is also very efficient with his moves in the open field. He knows what he wants to do, he makes his moves, and he goes. There isn't a lot of wasted motion. At this point Riddick is more quick than he is fast. He isn't slow by any means, but he isn't a burner. He doesn't have that second gear in the open field that lets him run away from defenders, but he has more speed than Darius Walker coming out of high school, and Darius had a very good career at Notre Dame.
Although he isn't a powerful runner I do love the fact that Riddick never stops driving. His legs are always driving and he runs hard. When you combine this with his shiftiness it makes him very difficult to tackle at times. Riddick also has very good balance in traffic. As a receiver the Immaculata star shows very good hands and concentration.
While he is efficient in the open field, Riddick needs to become more efficient out of the backfield. He has a false step at the snap and doesn't consistently attack the line of scrimmage with enough speed. Once he gets going he is dangerous, as I discussed earlier, but in college that wasted motion in the backfield will hurt him. It's something that can be coached away so I am not too worried about it at this point.
The 5-foot-10 running back has very good vision out of the backfield. He reads the defense and explodes through the open holes. Whether it is bursting straight through the line, bouncing it outside, or cutting it back, Riddick hits the hole hard. Riddick is also a north-south runner and runs with a nice forward lean through the line. For a guy with a smaller frame, Riddick likes to run in between the tackles. He's a straight line guy through the line. Once he gets into the next level he begins to cut and make people miss. This will limit negative gains and allow him to be a guy who can carry the ball in every situation.
Riddick shows a quick stiff arm and is effective when he uses it. He will need to bulk up a bit and get stronger in his lower body. He appears to have the frame to gain the needed size and strength to be an every down back in college. Another knock on Riddick is in pass protection. Riddick needs to be more aggressive as a pass blocker. Too often he allows the defense to come to him. He needs to take the fight to the defenders more frequently.
There isn't a lot of film of Riddick as a defensive back. I would like to see him backpedal and play some cornerback as a senior. But as a safety he shows some good abilities. He has good ball skills and instincts. For a guy without great size he isn't afraid to come up and stick his nose in things. He shows good safety skills, but I would think his size would dictate him being a cornerback. His athletic ability leads me to believe he could play cornerback, but I can't say it with certainty since I haven't seen him do it.
I have no idea what position Theo Riddick will play at Notre Dame and I don't care. I just want him a part of this recruiting class. You can't have enough running backs on your roster, and you can't have enough athletes on your roster. In high school your best athlete usually plays running back. Those players are usually guys who can play multiple positions. Riddick is that kind of player. He can play running back, wide receiver, cornerback, safety, and return kicks. By adding Riddick and Cierre Wood the Irish have increased their depth at running back, have added two versatile athletes to their future, and have added two guys who scare opponents every time the ball is in their hands. It's an outstanding combination.
In the Film Room: Theo Riddick
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