It isn't any secret that the Longhorns are desperate for defensive ends. To fill out the unit's depth, the Longhorns are probably going to have to move last year's starting defensive tackle, Alex Okafor, back outside, while also shifting Dravannti Johnson, a hybrid SAM/DE as a sophomore, to defensive end full-time. Other than those two, Texas has sophomores Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson and incoming freshman Cedric Reed. That's it.
All of which makes defensive end a big priority in the class of 2012. With the state's top end, Mario Edwards, looking like a Florida State lean, and the Longhorns not showing the patience to wait on the next crop of defensive ends to emerge, Ridgeway became a priority recruit. He's a tough, athletic player who is already somewhat of a known quantity. All of those factors worked in his favor.
Ridgeway isn't an elite pass rusher yet. He displays inconsistent get-off at times and doesn't display a consistent ability to bend the edge. In fact, right now, he's arguably better at rushing from the interior.
But the tools are there. He's a long 6-foot-4 and has the frame to add more weight to his 220-pound frame. He runs well for his size, displaying nice speed for the position. And he shows both the strength and the aggressiveness to hold up against the run.
In short, he's not necessarily a guy who is going to come in and become a factor the same way Jackson Jeffcoat did this past year. But that's fine. What he does give the Longhorns is a player with nice upside, a versatile athlete who can plug into defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's scheme on the edge.