The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

May 17, 2014

All-America defensive end joins WVU

MORGANTOWN — While West Virginia University’s basketball program continues to be plagued by transfers, the football program continues to take advantage of the graduate transfer rule that allows graduated players with eligibility to join a team and play immediately.

The latest to take advantage of the rule is FCS All-America defensive end Shaquille Riddick, who promises to be a huge addition to an inexperienced defensive line and address a weak pass rush that plagued the team the past two seasons.

Players across America are trying to get their degrees early and transfer to a school where they feel they can better their position for a career in the National Football League or get playing time.

The Mountaineers benefitted when Ryan Mundy left Michigan to play safety at WVU and has gone on to an NFL career that saw him play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears.

Last year Clint Trickett, who was beaten out for the quarterback job at Florida State by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, transferred to WVU and won the starting job but played through an injury-plagued season. He has another year of eligibility.

The Mountaineers benefitted far more from the transfer of Houston graduate Charles Sims, who became an All-Big 12 performer at running back, surpassing 1,000 rushing yards and leading the Mountaineers in receptions.

He put himself in position to be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round.

Earlier this year, WVU grabbed off another defensive player in DB Cullen Christian, who came in from Pitt where he felt he would not get a fair shake for playing time after fighting injuries.

Riddick, though, may be a gift from heaven because he addresses a real need and seems to come with exceptional talent. He finished fifth in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the best FCS defensive player, and was named All-America by eight different services.

Playing in 11 games, he led the team with 8.5 sacks, had 19 tackles for losses and 17 quarterback hurries.

His previous season, as a sophomore, he had 6.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and 10 quarterback hurries.

In his sophomore season, he had seven tackles, 1.5 for a loss, against No. 10 Wofford.

• Former West Virginia women’s basketball star Liz Repella confirmed via Twitter Friday that she is returning to become a graduate assistant under coach Mike Carey, replacing another former player, Madina Ali.

Repella, from Steubenville, Ohio, averaged 12.2 points a game during her four-year career that ran from 2008-2011.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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