National Scouting Combine Feature: Kenny Ridley


MARCH, 2017

National Scouting Combine

I had the pleasure of meeting several athletes this past week; working with and training athletes whom attended the 6th annual National Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. As one of the main writers on staff, I like to take the time to sit down and get to know the players on a personal level. I got to know one player in particular very well, and was inspired by his story. Without further or due, here is the story of Kenny Ridley.
Kenny was born and raised in Hillside New Jersey where he attended Hillside High School. Kenny played for a team that lacked talent at the upperclassmen level and went 0-10 his senior season. Despite the winless record, Kenny was a standout player whom played quarterback, defensive back, kick return, punt return, you name it. However, Kenny’s skill was overshadowed by something greater than his athletic ability, his leadership ability and inspiration to the underclassmen are what Kenny was recognized for. The year after Ridley left high school to play at Fort Union Military Academy, Hillside High School made it one game shy of the New Jersey State Championship. The upperclassmen credit Ridley for their successful season, as his leadership and work ethic served as a role model to those younger.

Ridley took his talents down to Virginia following his high school graduation where he started as a Freshman in the 2008-2009 as a defensive back. From here, Ridley would bounce around from schools around the country until he found a home at Morgan State. Kenny entered Morgan State University in the fall of 2010 where he became a 3 year starter and star player. Due to personal reasons, Ridley took some time off from football and found a new home in the fall of 2013 where he again walked on to a new team and became a starter at cornerback for Charleston. Wherever Kenny went, he played and was recognized as a leader in whatever organization he went to the minute he stepped in the door.

“When asked to describe himself off the field in one word, Ridley replied with “blessed””

After attending the 2014 National Scouting Combine through Beyond Sports Network, Ridley got signed to play with the Cedar Rapid Titans. Ridley was then traded to the Green Bay Blizzard where he led the team with 5 interceptions in 7 games. It was here Kenny met the Blizzard’s biggest fan whom took him in like she was his own grandson. Ridley still stays in contact with her and is destined to make her as well as his immediate family proud in every facet of his life.

Ridley considers himself a balanced player with the ability to be a playmaker. He is the voice of the defense when he takes the field; he is the general whom leads his soldiers into battle the minute he steps between the lines. Kenny accredits his skill to his work in the film and weight room where he takes pride in watching film, and training all year round to perfect his craft, “The hardest working guy… is the guy who wins; at the end of the day I am going to be prepared and outsmart my opponents”.

Ridley is a humble individual who stated that there is always room to improve. Despite thinking he is his own player, when asked what NFL player he compares himself to, he believes his play is similar to that of Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs. Ridley thinks this way due to his explosiveness on the field, and the ability to flourish in all types of coverage’s.

His inspiration for football and his life in general comes from God and his grandmothers, including the one he adopted in Green Bay. Kenny is a religious man who knows that even if football doesn’t work out, God has a plan for him.

I then gave Kenny a few difficult questions to dig into his character. When asked one word to describe himself as a football player, he replied “Underdog”. When asked to describe himself off the field in one word, Ridley replied with “blessed”. Kenny hopes to make it into the pros and has the skill and work ethic to do so. However, Kenny graduated with a degree in General Studies and hopes to own day start his own player development in his hometown of Hillside where he can help underprivileged and troubled kids obtain scholarships to reach their full potential.

My final question was one I asked to several athletes over the two day combine: Why you? Why are you going to make it out of all the athletes not only at this combine, but over the 50 states who have the same hopes and dreams as you? He replied with the best answer I heard all weekend: “Why not me”.

I as well as several coaches and players from this past week’s combine were drawn to the religious inspirational athlete from New Jersey. I feel safe to say that Kenny’s work ethic and character will translate into success into whatever career path he so chooses in his future.