The Cincinnati quarterback has the Bearcats on the brink of history headed into the first College Football Playoff of the NIL era.
As the first College Football Playoff in the name, image and likeness era kicks off on New Year’s Eve, athletes competing for the national championship have the opportunity to leverage the massive stage to boost their personal brands.
Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama and runner-up Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan have garnered a majority of the headlines, but they’re far from the only big names competing on college football’s biggest stage.
One of them is Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder — the guy under center for the first team outside the Power 5 to ever make the CFP.
Who is Desmond Ridder?
- Position: Quarterback
- Number: 9
- Class: Redshirt senior
- Height: 6’4
- Weight: 215 lbs.
- Home town: Louisville, Kentucky
- Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist (nation’s best upperclassman QB)
- Manning Award finalist (nation’s best QB)
- AAC Offensive Player of the Year
- First Team All-AAC
- Academic All-America First Team
The Ridder Brand
A historic season for the Bearcats and for their senior signal caller continues as Cincinnati remains the only undefeated team in the country. Ridder — one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history — has been the face of Cincinnati’s rebuild and has taken his personal brand national this year with the Bearcats crashing the CFP party. He became a Heisman candidate and a potential 2022 NFL Draft first-round pick in the process.
Prior to his senior campaign, Ridder announced that he became a “Girl Dad” in the offseason, and family has been front-and-center for him ever since. A month into the season and with the Bearcats starting their assent, ESPN College Gameday produced a heartwarming segment on Ridder detailing how his daughter put life and football into perspective, while he still strives for perfection on the gridiron. It helped put Ridder, who doesn’t play for a traditional power, in front of more fans in a positive light.
Ridder came out of the gate strong and strategic when NIL went into effect, launching an NFT collection with Candy Digital, followed by brand partnerships with BYLT Basics apparel, Dr. Pepper and Topps – with elements of giving back, mentorship and community. When he signed with NFL sponsor Bose, Ridder gifted his offensive line new headphones for the holidays to show his appreciation for protecting him all season as they took the college football world by storm.
Ridder and the Bearcats have been riding the longshot wave all season, even as they earned as high as the No. 2 ranking in Top 25 polls. Although they will again be an underdog in their CFP semifinal against No. 1 Alabama, the matchup against the nation’s best will introduce Ridder to even more football fans as he completes the final chapter of his illustrious college career and sets his personal brand up for even more success.