End of the Ride

Spencer Ridenhour and his parents will be keeping tabs on the Penn State football team in 2007, but not quite in the fashion they've been doing so the past few years. Ridenhour, you see, was a redshirt junior safety for the Nittany Lions before opting to transfer from the school earlier this month.

According to his mom, Lani, her son harbors no ill will toward the school. It is more about finding a place to fit in, which was difficult considering the way he was moved around the PSU defense. He began his career as a linebacker, filling in behind the likes of All-Americans Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny, before shifting to safety last season.

Ridenhour is a 6-footer who has weighed between 195 and 210 pounds in his PSU career, depending on position.

With the graduation of starter Donnie Johnson, Ridenhour hoped to have the inside track on a starting job for 2007. But then former starting cornerback Tony Davis was moved to one of the safety spots in the spring, and with 2006 All-Big Ten pick Anthony Scirrotto back at the other, Ridenhour saw a window of opportunity closing.

“Spencer didn't leave over anything that was negative,” Lani Ridenhour said. “You have Anthony Scirrotto, who is a great player. And you also have Tony Davis, who is a great player. He's not taking anything away from them.

“It is just kind of tough when you are recruited as an athlete trying to get a starting position,” she continued. “At this point in his career, knowing he only has two years left and knowing that a job is not open, he has to go and find a job. That's what this is — a business decision.”

Scirrotto and Davis both have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

If Ridenhour transfers to another Division I-A school, he will have to sit out a season under NCAA rules. So instead he is targeting Division I-AA programs, where he will be eligible to play this fall. He hopes to settle on a destination sometime next week, but the family is reluctant to mention possibilities until his decision is made.

Lani Ridenhour said her son, who is majoring in human development and family studies, is less than 40 credits away from graduating. He attended Penn State through the end of the first summer semester and is now living at home in White Plains, N.Y.

While the whole family is anxious for the transfer to be complete, they also intend to keep track of the Nittany Lions in the fall.

“We're still going to watch Penn State and follow Penn State and root for Penn State in the Big Ten,” Lani Ridenhour said. “There is definitely nothing negative here.”

Ridenhour arrived at Penn State in 2004 and took a redshirt as a true freshman. He had 14 tackles in 2005 and 7 in 2006, most of them as a special teams' cover man.

His most significant action last season came in a 26-12 win over Illinois, where he replaced the injured Johnson and made three stops.


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