Ridgeway to leave Texas early, declare for NFL Draft

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Junior defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway will forego his senior season at Texas to enter the NFL Draft, the school announced Saturday.

“I just discussed it with my parents and my family, seeing what was best for me, and right now, I think it’s best to come out this year,” Ridgeway said.

Ridgeway started 11 games for the Longhorns in 2015. After dealing with injuries the first three games of the season, he started the next eight. He missed the season finale against Baylor with another injury, though.

“Coach Strong has always had a lot of faith in me and my ability, and he’s always pushed me,” Ridgeway said. “It’s been a great help, both him and the coaching staff – coach (Brick) Haley, coach (Vance) Bedford – they’ve really pushed me and helped me become a better player and person.”

The redshirt junior from Mansfield Texas had 36 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Against Oklahoma State, Ridgeway scored his first career touchdown on a 34-yard fumble recovery he returned for a touchdown.

“Hassan is a really talented young player whose best years are ahead of him,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “We appreciate everything he’s done for Texas, and though we’re disappointed to lose him, we will continue to support him any way we can. We wish Hassan the best.”

This past season, Ridgeway was named an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection. In three seasons with the Longhorns, he played in 36 games, starting 18. He finishes his career with 92 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

“My career as a Longhorn has been very important to me, and I really appreciate coach [Mack] Brown for giving me that opportunity,” Ridgeway said. “I spent four years there and wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone to UT. I wouldn’t change that for anything. I feel like it shaped me into the person I am, and I can be happy for that. I’m going to be a Longhorn until the day I die. There’s no changing that.”

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