As far as Deandre Riddick is concerned, he plans to go “all out” this upcoming season.
Entering his final year of collegiate football at Kentucky Christian University, the former Memphis Southwind High standout doesn’t shy away from the notion that 2015 is a make-or-break-it year for him.
“This season will be very crucial because this is it,” Riddick told MemphiSport on Thursday. “It’s my last ride, not holding anything back. And I can’t hold anything back. I have to put it all out there and just have faith.”
Among the reasons Riddick, a rising senior wide receiver for Kentucky Christian, is heading into the final college season harboring lofty expectations is that he admittedly aspires to play football beyond this year.
In other words, as far as Riddick is concerned, if he exemplifies the same assertiveness and poise he displayed after an efficient junior season, he strongly believes he will afforded the golden opportunity to play at the professional level.
“My expectation for the season is to be at the top of the charts,” Riddick said. “I worked so hard this summer that I can’t do nothing but be on top. And, I must also play to make my teammates great around me. So if I play hard, they will too.”
To his credit, Riddick, a speedy 5-foot-9, 170-pounder, had done a masterful job last year in demonstrating that as he goes, so goes the Knights.
For starters, Riddick started each of KCU’s games — with the exception of the two he missed for violating team rules — only picking up where he left off after playing one year at William Penn University in Iowa and his subsequent redshirt year.
In fact, following what was a productive freshman campaign at WPU, Riddick took a one-year hiatus away from football, spending that time in Knoxville, Tennessee with his younger brother, Tino Thomas, a former Melrose High star who stars at the University of Tennessee.
As Riddick tells it, such a lengthy time away from playing the game he loves, by all accounts, only fueled his desire to demonstrate a more competitive drive to succeed on the field.
He did just that from the minute he set foot on the KCU campus, being installed immediately as a starter for a Knight team that finished 5-6 last year.
Not bad for a player who sensed it was in his best interest to step away from the game and refocus his focus on more important things.
“I had to leave (William Penn) because of family issues,” Riddick said. “I had been playing this game for so long. I fell in love with it as the moment I started (playing the game).”
Among those who showed strong support for Riddick during his year-long absence from the game was his mother, Venus Riddick, a trend Deandre Riddick acknowledges only increased his desire to return to the field with a newfound attitude, thus live up to his high expectations.
“My mom…when she sees me playing out there, all she can do is smile. I love putting a smile on her face.”
Now with KCU less than a month away from its season opener Sept. 5 at Duquesne University, Deandre Riddick’s said his primary focus is to finish what he started. Only this time, though, he plans to draw rave reviews from professional scouts, something about which would bring a bigger smile to his mother’s face.
“I have so much passion for this game,” Deandre Riddick said.
Which, as far as he is concerned, is why he plans to go “all out” this upcoming season.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.