NEWARK — Terrique Riddick is the first to admit that he’s made mistakes.
“Legal trouble” got the former Woodbridge High football standout’s life — and his playing career — off track for a while after high school.
But the 23-year-old is also determined that, ultimately, those mistakes won’t define his life.
“I definitely do have a lot to prove,” said Riddick. “Not just to me, but to my family, to my support system. Even though you make a mistake, as long as you keep working hard, opportunities will present themselves if you do the right thing.”
Right now, Riddick has a pretty remarkable opportunity in his grasp.
Six years after he finished his playing career at Woodbridge, the Slaughter Neck native is a member of the Delaware football team. The 5-foot-6, 165-pound junior is considered a multiple offensive threat, practicing at running back, slot receiver and kick returner.
Riddick had already proven he could still play. Spending the last two seasons at NCAA Division III William Paterson in New Jersey, he ran for 1,533 yards in 20 games while earning a handful of honors.
Playing at the NCAA Division I FCS level with the Blue Hens, though, is a huge step up.
Riddick wanted something more.
He started sending out his highlight tape to schools. It helped that Delaware assistant coaches Andrew Pierce and Art Link had both coached against Riddick when he was playing at Paterson.
“I knew I didn’t want to stay playing Division III,” said Riddick. “God had bigger and better plans for me. ... Everything just worked out.
“(William Paterson coach) Dustin Johnson gave me the first chance to show the world that I’m serious now,” said Riddick, referring to the former Delmar High standout. “I appreciate everything Dustin did for me. Coach (Ryan) Carty, he gave me a chance to come up here and represent my home state. I really appreciate both of them giving me the chance to turn my life around.”
After only joining the Blue Hens last week when preseason camp opened, Riddick knows he’s got a lot of work to do in a short period of time. Delaware opens the season Sept. 3 at Navy.
At the same time, Riddick said he feels accepted by his new teammates.
“This is my first seven days here and I love it already,” he said Friday. “The coaches, the players, everybody is locked in and dialed in. We really want to compete for a championship. Everybody wants everybody to succeed on and off the field.
“I feel like it’s more like a family. Everybody is bonding. They take care of us here. It’s different at the Division I level.”
Riddick, who helped Woodbridge win the DIAA Division II state championship in Delaware Stadium in 2016, will have to beat the odds to make it on the field this fall. Delaware has plenty of talent at its offensive skill positions.
Still, Riddick believes he has all the motivation in the world. Along with wanting to prove himself as a football player, he has a young son to provide for.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Being here, being able to represent my home state, my family, my high school team, Troy (Haynes) ... it means a lot to me, really it does. I can’t thank them enough for this.
“It’s a real life-changing opportunity. I’m going to take it and run with it. I’m not going to look back over the past. I’m just going to keep inspiring others, inspiring the youth to avoid the things I went through. I’m doing what I can to change my life and my family’s.
“I don’t have anything to hide,” he added. “I can’t change the past, I can only change what I do from here on out — just be a better me.”
One more year
While Riddick is 23, he’s hardly the oldest Blue Hen on this year’s squad.
That distinction belongs to Josh Moran, a 25-year-old wide receiver transfer.
A Georgia native, the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder spent his college career as a reserve and special-teams player at the University of Georgia. He did briefly transfer to New Mexico State but never actually went there because the COVID pandemic hit.
An honor roll student, Moran had his undergraduate degree and was working in 2021.
“I actually thought my career was over at that point,” he said. “I didn’t know I had another year of eligibility after that.
“I really never gave up hope. I still wanted to play. But that’s when I was like, ‘You know, if I can’t play any more, it’s the Lord’s will. But I would love to.’ That’s when I got a call and realized I had one more year.”
Because he had missed considerable time due to injuries, Moran was able to use a medical redshirt. He knows he would have regretted it if he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
So what if he hears a few “grandpa” jokes from his new teammates.
“It’s funny, they always say don’t take it for granted,” said Moran. “I love this sport — I’ve always loved this sport growing up. My dad played at Georgia Tech so it kind of runs in the family.
“When I wasn’t able to play, I loved it even more. I’m just grateful for every day I’m able to come out here. ... I love helping these guys and however I can contribute here, that’s really what I want to do.”
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 302-741-8227 or email@example.com.
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