Each year, the Stony Brook University football team invites several players to attend the school with the possibility of being a non-scholarship-receiving player on the roster (walk-ons). In the summer of 2010, defensive back Christian Ricard was one of these players.
Standing at over six feet and weighing 205 pounds, Ricard certainly had the makeup of a Division I player. However, as a native of Spencer, Massachusetts, Ricard slipped through the cracks of recruiting and received only a few Division III offers. The lack of attention and scholarship never fazed him though.
“I knew from day one I could make a big impact at Stony Brook, I just needed to make everyone else a believer,” Ricard said.
Ricard joined the team in a period of transition. The Seawolves had just received an influx of transfers from the then recently-closed Hofstra football program. The veteran transfers and Ricard’s unheralded talent led to a redshirt season for 2010.
Ricard got the opportunity to prove himself on the Special Teams in 2011. In 2012, Ricard began to see consistent time in the field. With 53 tackles, Ricard was a part of a defense that led the Seawolves to a share of the Big South regular season title and an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs.
There, the Seawolves met soon-to-be CAA foe Villanova. On that cold and wet November night, a star was born. An injury to senior quarterback Kyle Essington put added pressure on Stony Brook’s defense to hold Villanova’s freshman star quarterback, John Robertson. Redshirt sophomore Ricard was ready for the challenge. He tallied eight total tackles to help beat the Wildcats and added seven in the second round loss to Montana State.
With the graduation of Dominick Reyes and injuries to senior defensive backs Reuben Johnson and Davonte Anderson, Ricard was asked to move to free safety and lead the young and inexperienced defensive backfield.
“Moving to free safety forced me to become more athletic and I was able to learn more about coverage and reads,” Ricard said.
Despite a disappointing 5-6 campaign, Ricard led the Seawolves with 91 tackles including 17 in an upset at James Madison.
In 2014, Ricard will move back to the Rover position where he started his career. Head Coach Chuck Priore said, “He’s moving back to his comfortable position so were excited.”
Before the Ricard and the Seawolves return to conference play where he has had success, they will travel to the University of Connecticut to play the Huskies.
When asked if Ricard had thought much about the team’s first ever trip to UConn, he quickly interjected, saying, “Of course! The school’s just a half hour from my house and I dreamed about playing there growing up. Last year, the Boston College game being removed was really disappointing. I played with a bunch of their (UConn) guys so it should be fun.”
After serving as a Second Team All-CAA defensive player in his junior year, Ricard hopes to get even better and be more competitive this year. Rising from the bottom to the top of the depth chart, its impossible to put a limit on Ricard’s potential, but, he would rather not think about it.
“I’m just worried about today and helping this team win,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys, but we need to be confident and believe in each other.”