The football field at Immaculata High School in New Jersey is named after this week’s all-time Irish Hero, because it is where what is now known as “Theo Riddick Field” that an explosive running back plied his trade to the tune of over 4000 yards rushing and 52 touchdowns.
Such lofty numbers caught the attention of many big time college programs, but Theo Riddick was interested in challenging himself academically and in 2009 Charlie Weis offered that challenge with a scholarship offer to play for the Fighting Irish.
As a Freshman Riddick saw action primarily on special teams and was the team’s lead kick returner. And then things changed. In 2010 Brian Kelly came to town and among the many changes he implemented was a move of Riddick to slot receiver, a place he would stay for two seasons.
Riddick learned his new position quickly. Despite missing several games to injury in his sophomore season he finished second on the team to Michael Floyd in receiving with 40 catches. As a Junior he produced another 38 catches and finished third on the team to Floyd and Tyler Eifert, as he continued to perfect his pass receiving skills.
In 2012 he was moved back to his natural position, running back and Riddick responded with a memorable year. As ND went on an undefeated run to the BCS championship game, Riddick was a key player with 917 yards rushing and another 370 yards receiving. And he found the end zone 7 times.
In ND’s big win at Oklahoma that year Riddick contributed a 15-yard TD run to put the game on ice in the 4th quarter. He followed that effort up with a 146-yard day and another TD to close out an undefeated regular season at USC.
Retired from football just last summer, Riddick had a productive seven-year NFL career primarily with the Detroit Lions. Not surprisingly, considering his collegiate background, he made his professional mark not so much as a runner but primarily as an outstanding receiver out of the backfield. In fact in 2015 he set Detroit Lion all-time season records with 80 catches out of the back field and 697 yards.
As a versatile performer both running and receiving, Theo Riddick was a key player during the early years of the Brian Kelly era and a star during the 2012 run to the BSC Championship game.
Therefore, Theo Riddick is hereby conferred the title of All-Time Irish Hero.