One of Prince Avenue Christian School’s best-ever defensive players recently signed to continue his football career.
Davis Ridings, a senior at Prince Avenue, inked scholarship documents to join the Western Carolina football team in the coming months. Ridings made his decision official Wednesday, Feb. 3, in a scholarship signing ceremony held at Prince Avenue Baptist Church.
Ridings said the day was a long time coming.
As such, he was excited about the opportunity to sign the scholarship while surrounded by family, friends, coaches and teammates. Along with Ridings, those in attendance also celebrated the college signings of Logan Johnson and B.J. Green.
“I'm feeling good,” Ridings said. “I'm just excited that we can all celebrate here in the church, that everyone could come here and celebrate me, Logan and B.J.”
Ridings’ dad, Rob Ridings, serves as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator.
His dad’s influence on him was strong, Ridings said. The constant exposure to football through his dad is what sparked Ridings’ dream of being a college football player.
“Ever since I was a little kid,” Ridings said ahead of the ceremony when asked how long he had dreamed of becoming a college player. “Growing up watching my dad, being in the locker room, the sidelines and all that. I've always dreamed of playing college football. Today is finally the day that I can make that happen.”
Ridings certainly performed as if he wanted to draw attention from collegiate programs.
During his three years with the Prince Avenue team, Ridings was regularly among the Wolverines’ top defensive performers.
As a sophomore, Ridings recorded 138 total tackles, 98 of which were solo tackles. That was good for an average of 10.6 tackles per game.
Ridings forced one fumble that year and had three sacks and five quarterback hurries.
During his junior season, Ridings had 119 total tackles with 83 of them coming from Ridings alone. That averaged out to 9.9 tackles per game.
Ridings forced two fumbles and recovered one. He had 18 quarterback hurries.
As a senior during the 2020 season, Ridings had 160 total tackles. Of those, 113 were solo tackles.
He averaged 12.3 tackles per game as a senior. He had a gaudy 22 total tackles against Rabun County before nearly matching that effort against Athens Academy later in the season when he had 21 total tackles.
Ridings had five sacks as a senior to go with 17 quarterback hurries. He forced one fumble and picked off two passes.
For his career, Ridings finished with 417 total tackles, 294 of which were solo tackles. He averaged 11 tackles per game through 38 games.
Ridings had 41 tackles for loss throughout his career.
For his efforts, Ridings won all-state honors in each of his last two seasons.
After his senior campaign, Ridings was named the Class A-Private defensive player of the year by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Georgia High School Football Daily.
Wolverines head coach Greg Vandagriff spoke during the ceremony. He commended Ridings for his massive contributions and said he expects great things for the star linebacker in the future.
“We just want to wish you the best,” Vandagriff said. “You've done a great job and you've pursued your dream and those things have come through for you. We can't wait to watch you play on Saturdays. You’ll represent us well and represent your family well.”
Ridings’ impressive statistics brought him attention from numerous programs.
He received offers from Bucknell, Butler and Kennesaw State, among others.
But Western Carolina was “the best fit” for Ridings. When asked what sold him on the Catamounts, Ridings had an immediate answer.
“The coaching staff,” Ridings said. “They stayed on me all throughout the year. They made sure that they wanted me to come there. That's what really made the decision easy for me.”
Ridings is undecided on what he will study at Western Carolina. He said he could potentially work toward a business degree or sports medicine degree.
As it pertains to football, however, Ridings knows exactly what he hopes to accomplish.
“I want to come in and make an impact my freshman year,” Ridings said. “We play some good teams and I want to make the travel roster. I want to dress and I want to do all that. I just want to help the team win.”
Regardless of what the future holds, Ridings will soon leave behind an historic career at Prince Avenue.
He and the Wolverines won the program’s first-ever state title on Dec. 28 in a 41-21 win over Trinity Christian.
For that, Ridings expects he and the rest of the class of 2021 will be remembered for years to come.
“My last three years I've been here have been some of the greatest moments of my life,” Ridings said. “Winning a state championship was just the ending of it. It was a great ending to all of our stories and all that. I think we left a legacy here for our senior class and for all the rest of the people coming up.”