Skip to content
Villanova Wildcats
Link copied to clipboard

Villanova freshman Ethan Greenidge suddenly a starter

Ethan Greenidge didn't have big plans for his 18th birthday on Thursday beyond hitting the books and looking at film.

Ethan Greenidge didn't have big plans for his 18th birthday on Thursday beyond hitting the books and looking at film.

"I'm 18 now, but I'm not going to do anything too special today," the 6-foot-4, 350-pound freshman at Villanova said. "Just making sure that I'm ready."

With the Wildcats coming off a season-opening 20-15 loss to Connecticut, Greenidge will find himself thrust into the starting lineup Saturday when the No. 6 Wildcats play at No. 16 Fordham (1-0) in a Football Championship Subdivision matchup.

Greenidge will start in place of Jake Prus, who donated bone marrow Thursday at Hahnemann Hospital in conjunction with the Be the Match marrow program.

The freshman will play a major role in what is already a crucial game for the Wildcats. UConn's defense held the Wildcats almost 23 points below last season's average (37.7). The FBS team also frustrated reigning Walter Payton Award winner John Robertson, holding him to 66 yards rushing on 18 carries and limiting him to 153 passing yards and one touchdown.

Making matters more difficult, the Wildcats will be without the services of starting running back Gary Underwood for the foreseeable future after he suffered bruised ribs at UConn. His X-rays were negative, but coach Andy Talley said there were some abnormalities in his MRI exam.

"He's not going to be available for a couple of weeks," Talley said.

The Wildcats have been particularly fond of Greenidge since he set foot on campus. Talley says that Greenidge is incredibly athletic and has very good feet, not just for a player his size but for an offensive lineman in general.

"Physically, he's ready. It's just whether he'll be able to handle series after series, and we won't really know that until we get there," Talley said.

At the close of Thursday morning's practice, Greenidge sounded confident.

"I've spent a lot of time picking Jake's head," said Greenidge, a native of Riverhead, N.Y. "The coaching staff has a lot of confidence in me. I think I can do the job. If they think I can do it, then so should I."

The Wildcats annihilated visiting Fordham, 50-6, in the second week of last season. They limited then-freshman running back Chase Edmonds to minus-5 yards rushing. Last week in a victory over Army West Point, Edmonds rushed 20 times for 110 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 140 yards in a 37-35 victory.

Edmonds was named the top FCS freshman in the nation in 2014 after rushing 294 times for 1,838 yards and 23 touchdowns.

"We've got to keep him under control," Talley said.