Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

January 6, 2011

TCSF's Kerridge left up in the air

St. Francis senior a U-M walk-on

TRAVERSE CITY — The story of Joe Kerridge's journey to the collegiate football ranks is one of perseverance.

And it's one that isn't over yet.

The St. Francis senior thought his journey was complete when he was accepted to the University of Michigan and in line to be a preferred walk-on.

And then the Wolverines fired head coach Rich Rodriguez on Wednesday.

"I got into Michigan academically, but now with coach Rodriguez gone, I've got to start at the bottom again and work my way back up," Kerridge said.

Game on, once again.

Kerridge was an All-State punter as a sophomore and an All-State fullback as a junior. That, combined with impressive summer camps, led the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder to receive interest from colleges, including Michigan, Michigan State and even Stanford.

However, the schools wanted to see film from a couple of games in the fall before offering a scholarship.

Then, in a 7-on-7 drill in July, Kerridge blew out the ACL in his right knee. He missed the entire season, ending his chances of receiving a Division 1 football scholarship.

But good news came last month for Kerridge from the Maize and Blue.

"I got my acceptance letter right before Christmas," Kerridge said. "I was going to go down as a non-recruited walk-on so I could earn money academically. And then if a scholarship was presented, I could then take that money and be a scholarship player."

Kerridge grew up a Michigan fan. Several family members attended the university.

"From where I stand right now, I'll still be going to Michigan," Kerridge said. "I've got to wait to see what coach they get and get familiar with them."

The coaching switch may actually work in Kerridge's favor. While he didn't fit in Rodriguez's spread offense, he could become a commodity if the new coach returns to a more traditional formation.

"What I was going to do with coach Rodriguez was I was going to see where I fit in," Kerridge said. "If I were to be a power back on offense, or play linebacker or punt. They're saying Harbaugh is probably not (coming to Michigan), but that would have helped me with the power back. So I'm waiting to see what coach is coming in, but it could work in my favor."

Kerridge has been doing physical therapy twice a week for the last five months and said he's just three weeks away from being 100 percent.

"From there I'll start with my conditioning," Kerridge said. "I'm very excited. I've been pushing it pretty hard. I'm making sure I didn't do anything to it, but I got through it pretty well and it's exciting to be almost done with it."

The college football recruiting process is also winding down for fellow St. Francis senior Kyle Lints.

The 6-3, 270-pound lineman committed to Ball State and coach head coach Stan Parrish in October. When Parrish was fired following after a 4-8 season, Lints said he would explore other options.

Since then, Ball State has locked in its new staff with head coach Pete Lembo.

John Strollo is the new offensive line coach for the Cardinals and he's expected to visit Lints today.

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