West Virginia Mountaineers Will Need Shaquille Riddick to Provide a Pass Rush

By Dan Kelley
Shaquille Riddick
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With the departure of DT Will Clark, the West Virginia Mountaineers are going to need pass rushers to step up along the defensive line. Clark led West Virginia football with six sacks and 11 tackles for a loss last year, and leaves a major void in the Mountaineers’ already thin defense. However, the arrival of Gardner Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs-transfer Shaquille Riddick should be a significant help.

Unlike Clark, who occupied blockers and took up space in the middle, Riddick should provide the Mountaineers with a speed-rush off the edge. Riddick stands at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds and, after playing at the FCS level for the past three years, he should be physically ready from day one. He may have some work to do learning the Mountaineers’ scheme, as he only recently arrived in Morgantown after graduating from Gardner Webb.

The Mountaineers’ coaches don’t seem to be too concerned about Riddick picking up the defense, though, as he is already listed as a starter.

The Mountaineers are thin up front, so they will need Riddick to be able to wreak havoc immediately. Even with Clark last season, West Virginia did not produce much of a pass rush. It was one of many reasons why the Mountaineers struggled to a 4-8 record.

Riddick was among the top players at the FCS level last year and was named a FCS First-Team All-American by the Associated Press. He ended up in Morgantown by way of a graduate-transfer, which will allow him to play immediately.

West Virginia is going to have to count on Riddick in 2014. If he can dominate in the Big 12 as easily as he did at Gardner Webb last year, the Mountaineers’ front-line could be in good shape. West Virginia will need to find other answers elsewhere, of course, but Riddick should work as a solid cornerstone for this year’s rebuilding project.

Dan Kelley covers Big 12 football for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @DKelley_CFB or “Like” him on Facebook.

You May Also Like