Villanova offensive tackle, Ethan Greenidge was a standout at Riverhead High School. Coming from Flanders, NY, he was not only a First-team Suffolk County All-star and a two-time Suffolk County Coaches Association All Division first team offensive linemen he was also the team captain. A massive talent at 6-4, 345 pounds, Greenidge is one of the better up-and-coming linemen in the CAA and he is poised for a possible All-CAA season.
Leader Johnson: How did last season feel and how it ended?
Ethan Greenidge: Last season felt like a solid season even though, obviously, the results weren’t ultimately what we wanted. We achieved a lot and had a playoff win under our belt and came real close to a league championship. It was a positive season for ‘Nova.
Leader Johnson: What made you want to play for the Wildcats?
Ethan Greenidge: The balance between academics and sports really attracted me to the school. Also, I wanted to be able to get a little distance from home but not too much and I felt like ‘Nova was the perfect distance. Another thing is on a visit I got to talk to guys like Brad Seaton who plays for the Titans now and Kyle Wallace. They gave me an arms open feeling and now those guys are some of my closest friends. It felt like a place I can bond well and create brothers and that's exactly what happened.
Leader Johnson: Do you feel you are a leader for this line?
Ethan Greenidge: I do because I have experience under my belt. I was blessed enough to be able to start as a freshmen and that carried over to my sophomore year. I feel like I have been around even though I’m only 19. Also, I feel I need to start to lead because as a line its not just one man doing a job. There are five of us that need to be in sync or the play is busted. I feel as if through my physical play and my experience I should be one of the leaders on the line and must enforce that to have a successful line along side Matt Donoghue. As long as we are together it doesn't matter who leads we just must play as one.
Leader Johnson: You have it. Your talent is there. You have NFL potential - are you aiming for that?
Ethan Greenidge: I feel as if every man should reach for the highest goal as possible no matter what sport you play. If you love to do something you should always try to be the best at it. That is my dream to play in the NFL but I understand what it takes. I've talked to coach Ferrante and coach Devine about this and they believe I can do it. Coming from experienced coaches like that I believe I can achieve it if I work and pray on it. I believe as long as I put in the work it is in God’s hands and if that is the path he leads me on I will be thankful and follow through to the fullest. That is my ultimate athletic goal.
Leader Johnson: Very good team this year and the recruiting class was super -very tough - what do you think of this line this year?
Ethan Greenidge: our recruiting class is great very excited about those guys. Our line is looking very good. We have guys like Matt Donoghue and Louie Csazar with great experience but after spring ball we looked like we really improved and we look as if we will be a lot more aggressive this year. The addition of coach Devine has been great. He is a great coach and is teaching us things that will guarantee improvement if we listen. Also, I feel as if we got a new attitude that is more aggressive and it is looking up for the line.
Leader Johnson: Is it a bad taste in your mouth? I know after last year this unit wants it. Do you all talk about this all the time?
Ethan Greenidge: Yeah, I feel as a team we missed out on the CAA championship. It hurts us but it makes us want to get after it. I know in spring ball we got a little chippy but I feel as if that is good to show aggressiveness. So we talk about it and show it to each other.
Leader Johnson: What player from this team do you think will surprise this year?
Ethan Greenidge: I think we will see a big jump in the play of Jafonta Johnson. That guy has always been a beast but it was hard for him to get a lot of minutes behind guys like Tanoh and Osei. I feel as if this will be his break out year and the league will see how good he really is … an amazing player who will do great things this year. Also, Taurus Phillips will be an anchor for us on the offensive side and will be great. He has always been a good player but I feel as if he is motivated for the world to know his name and I got all the faith in the world he will be heard.
Leader Johnson: Do you feel like there were games where you could have done something different or could have played better?
Ethan Greenidge: All the time. After every game we watch film and I watch myself and see some of the mistakes I make and sometimes even see a play I could've gotten extra yards if I would've done my job better. There are so many plays in a game and it is almost impossible to play a perfect game so there are always some plays you wish you did differently … but you gotta learn from those mistakes and move on.
Leader Johnson: Describe this team under the new coaching staff. How do you feel about Coach Ferrante?
Ethan Greenidge: I love the new additions to the coaching staff such as Coach Smith, Pennypacker, and Devine - even down to the GA’s. It is full of talent and we will learn a lot from them and it will transfer on to the field. I've been close to Coach Ferrante since my freshman year and he has been extremely helpful in my development as a player mentally and physically. He is a great coach and will lead the program to successful seasons.
Leader Johnson: Sean Devine is new - how do the linemen respond to him and what do you like about him?
Ethan Greenidge: He is a great coach. He brings a whole new scheme, technique and mentality to the offensive line that can bring out the best in us. Even the organization of the meeting is great. He is a great and the line will respond in a reflection of his work on the field. He is more than just x's and o’s. He cares for the type of men we are and that just brings even more respect from the line to him.
Leader Johnson: What makes you a tough match up on the field?
Ethan Greenidge: I feel as if I have a good mix of size and speed. I feel as if my feet are good and I'm able to move my weight pretty well. Being on the line it is about moving big weights fast. I feel as i can do that with myself and that lets me be able to stay with speed rushers and, with my size, gives me the ability to block bull rushes. But, I have much room to improve in all aspects of my game.
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Leader Johnson: Where did you grow up and how was it growing up?
Ethan Greenidge: I grew up in a town call Riverhead in Long Island, New York. Although Long Island is seen as a real rich place for all the people who live there and it is completely safe, that wasn't the case for me. Riverhead is a place that gives a vision of hope but has a tunnel of darkness that draws in the nicest people. I've seen people with a bright future fall into drugs, gang violence or even lose their life to this town. But, lucky for me, I had a rock as a family that was unmovable. My family, especially my mother, did not let me go anywhere near the streets and shielded me from all the things that Riverhead can drag you down in. Although we weren't rich, my mother and father always made sure that we had a meal on the table and that our families love never died. My family protected me and supported me through it all and that is one of the main reasons I made it out. Also, my father was of great significance in my life. Nowadays it is rare for a black kid to have a full family under one roof and that shouldn't be. My father being present guided me through mistakes and made me walk down the right path. I saw in some of my friends life what it was like to live in Riverhead and to be a black kid with no dad and I thank god all the time for the father he has given me. Riverhead can be nasty but it can be just as beautiful. Some of the people here are great and will never lead you down a wrong path. They support you - from peers all the way to senior citizens. The one thing about Riverhead that I learned growing up is, once you get past all the temptations of the streets and negativities, this town will support you till the day you die and it is a great place to live. These people love it when a kid makes it out and will follow you to the ends of the earth. Growing up in Riverhead has been a blessing because it teaches you how to survive through adversity and what it feels like to have a city have your back and has given me lessons in life I will never forget.
Leader Johnson: Are you hungry for this year and what part of your game have you improved the most?
Ethan Greenidge: Oh yes. I am extremely hungry for this year. I can't wait to get out there with my brothers and fight. We will do big things this year as a team. I feel as if my pass blocking has improved a lot. Although I made the switch to left tackle, I feel as if I adapted pretty quickly and have gone a far way … although it still can get better.
Leader Johnson: It is unfinished business … is that how you are approaching this season?
Ethan Greenidge: It is. Me and my team - we are chasing that CAA championship next and even further than that we want it all. We didn't close out like we needed to last year and we want to finish what we started.
Leader Johnson: Great talking to you Ethan. I expect a great season out of you.
Ethan Greenidge: Great talking to you as well thank you so much for the opportunity. God Bless.
Follow Ethan on twitter: @BigEgreenidge
Follow the Leader on twitter: @leaderscoutVU