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Ridley overcomes obstacles, named All-SEC

BATON ROUGE — Stevan Ridley has had to overcome a lot at LSU.

He had to overcome being fourth string on the running back depth chart and a serious knee injury.

He also had to overcome the doubters who thought he would never be a starting running back in the SEC despite his gaudy numbers at Trinity Episcopal.

But on Monday, Ridley proved to everyone he belongs as one of the elite running backs in the SEC, when he was named to the Associated Press All-SEC second team.

Ridley finished the regular season with 1,042 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in helping lead the Tigers to a 10-2 record and a spot in the Cotton Bowl.

Two of those touchdowns were game-winners. He scored on a 1-yard plunge on the final play of the game to defeat Tennessee 16-14 and ran in a 7-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left to defeat Ole Miss 43-36.

But while there were many doubters of Ridley’s ability, his high school coach, David King, wasn’t among them.

“It’s really easy for me to say this now, but I really did (believe he could have success at LSU),” King said. “I knew he had the desire and certainly the ability. And Stevan’s feet are so good, he’s got great feet and great vision and great desire.”

And the fact that Ridley put up great numbers in an LSU offense that struggled for much of the year was even more impressive.

“He had to do a lot of his work with a below-average passing attack, which makes this even more impressive,” King said. “I think he carried them in several of their games. He scored 14 touchdowns, and in (the SEC) that’s very, very impressive.”

King said the city should be very proud to have a native son on the All-SEC team.

“I hope the whole city of Natchez is proud of him, and I know the Trinity family is proud of him,” King said. “He has worked hard and made himself one of the best backs in the SEC, which in affect makes him one of the best in the country.”

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