- William Wilkerson, RecruitingNation
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Editor's note: Before Texas' 2012 recruiting class arrives on campus, HornsNation will talk with each of the incoming freshman one more time before their college careers begin.
Hassan Ridgeway (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield) is a notoriously quiet individual, who lets his action speak on the field.
However, in a recent interview with HornsNation, the No. 20 defensive end in the 2012 ESPN 150 opened up on a number of topics, including exactly how close he was to switching commitments to Texas A&M days from National Signing Day.
HornsNation: There couldn't have been too many people that were more relieved to sign their Letter of Intent than you. You weren't the biggest fan of the whole recruiting process. Why not?
Ridgeway: I guess because recruiting is so confusing. You have a lot of college coaches telling you a bunch of different things at the same time. It's a pretty hard decision to make. The main thing to me was coaches will do what they need to get you there. What Texas told me I knew they were being honest.
HN: Do you think you were undervalued as a recruit?
HR: Not really. I always see myself being No. 1 regardless. But I didn't really look at the recruitment like that. I didn't care where I was. I was more worried about where I was on the football field.
HN: There was a time late in your recruitment when questions arose about your commitment to Texas. You visited Texas A&M in Late January. How close, if at all, were you to switching?
HR: I was pretty close to switching. On a scale of 1 to 10, probably pretty close to a 10. One of the things that I liked about A&M was them going to the SEC and playing in a big conference like that, a powerhouse conference, which I like a lot. They had a lot of openings, which I liked. I liked the campus. There were a lot of things I liked about it. But I had a previous commitment to Texas and I like them just as much. The only thing that set them apart is the playing time that A&M had. But playing time isn't the biggest thing that I should be thinking about because I will get playing time wherever I go if I work hard.
HN: You are a pretty low-key guy off the field but that definitely isn't the case on it. What switches in your mind once you play football?
HR: When you get on the field that is where you are supposed to let everything out, and I leave everything out there. Everyone has things that make them mad or that they hold in, and I like to take out my aggression on the football field.
HN: Those that never saw you play at Mansfield were probably thrilled to see you play so well in the U.S. Army All-American game. Forced fumble and all. How great of an experience was that for yourself?
HR: It was great. It was amazing playing with all of those athletes out there. It is something I will remember for a while. I can't see it going any better than it did. But I wasn't impressed by my performance. I thought I should have done a lot more. But the talent I was going against was real high.
HN: You'll join a Texas team pretty set two-deep at defensive end. That's in addition to the other DE's that will join you in this class. What will your approach be next season?
HR: The main thing is just to outwork. I just want to outwork everybody and be the hardest worker out there. If I can do that then I won't have to worry about playing time.
HN: Is it important for you to play right away or do you think a redshirt year could benefit you at all?
HR: It's whatever the coaches want. If they see me benefiting the team by getting on the field right away then I'll do that. If they think I can help the team by redshirting then I don't care. As long as I can help the team.
HN: What have you been doing since football season ended to stay in shape and how are you feeling right now?
HR: I did basketball and a little bit of track. I am feeling really good. I lost some weight (15 pounds down to 260) and got a little faster. I did a lot of different workouts. I like being at 260 but I want to get a little lower. Maybe to 255 or 250 so when they do put weight on me I'm not getting up to 290 or something like that.