Gearing Up For Change

Theo Riddick and his mother are "very, very close." But soon, the four-star running back from Somerville, N.J., will be moving away from the nest.

It makes things a lot easier, when he has his mother's blessing to attend Notre Dame.

"We basically just talked about everything, and my mom is excited," Theo Riddick said. She's always been around here her whole life, so for me to go to Indiana and experience something different, she is very excited and looking forward it."

Riddick took his mother to South Bend on his official visit during the fall. It was her first time seeing the campus, and meeting the whole coaching staff. Notre Dame on the other hand, has been a regular presence in the New Jersey area, and not too long ago, head coach Charlie Weis and John Latina were by for an in-home visit.

Mom continues to be impressed.

"That's just a double plus," Riddick said. "You always notice your mom's first impression on people. She runs everything, and controls everything, so for her to love everything at and about Notre Dame, I was very excited."

It's easy to see why the Irish staff is excited about the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Riddick.

This past season, Riddick carried the ball 213 times for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns, helping lead Immaculata High to a 9-2 record and a spot in the state championship game.

"It went well," Riddick said of the season. "We had a lot of young guys. It was a young team, and expectations weren't that high. A lot of people didn't think we could do the things we did. You always want that victory in the championship, but for that young team to do what we did, I'm looking forward to seeing them play in the future."

Riddick can't wait for his own future.

He's been doing a lot of weight lifting to prepare for the college game, and says he keeps in regular touch with fellow Notre Dame verbal commits and Jersey products Tyler Stockton, Nyshier Oliver and Carlo Calabrese.

"I definitely feel like I'm part of the team already," Riddick stated.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know the guys and the University, and get on track academically. I just want to enjoy everything, and basically get a feel for the guys and join the club."

Riddick is also looking forward to finding out who the new offensive coordinator and running backs coach is going to be, with Mike Haywood, who held both positions, leaving Notre Dame for the head job at Miami (Ohio).

"I think it's going to be great," Riddick said. "It's a new addition to the team and the University. I think it's a plus, and it's never a negative when you have Charlie Weis as your head coach. We're improving every year, and next year we're going to be a lot better.

Riddick said he enjoyed talking football and life in general with Haywood.

"He has to do what's best for him. It's a business, and if he feels comfortable, and Charlie Weis feels comfortable, you just have to trust the guys that offered you a scholarship.

"I wish (coach Haywood) the best of luck, and I think he's going to be very successful."

Riddick's mother thinks her son is going to be very successful at Notre Dame.


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