Education

“Hometown Hero” Theo Riddick Revisits Football Field That Launched NFL Career

8cc4ebe72fb8a2215629_sompixtheocrowd.JPG
Detroit Lions' running back and Immaculata High School graduate Theo Riddick speaks to the crowd Monday monring in Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch
8fb6fb7c329ce5e3c243_sompixtheounveil.JPG
Theo Riddick and retired head football Coach Pierce Frauenheim unveil the banner during the ceremony Monday at Immaculata High School. Credits: Rod Hirsch
ec9aec9c1be72f606036_sompixtheoshooter.JPG
Theo Riddick catches up with Don "Shooter" McDonald, a volunteer coach at Immaculata. A huge fan, "Shooter" has known Riddick since he was eight years old. Credits: Rod Hirsch
5023f45e511279874054_sompixtheocustseamus.JPG
A photographer takes a photo of Riddick with Jack Cust, who graduated Immaculata in 1999 and went on to play Major League baseball. Msgr. Seamus Brennan looks on.  Credits: Rod Hirsch
d4614df08f9df353401b_sompixtheocust.JPG
Jack Cust, left, who hit over 100 home runs during his Major League career with the Rockies, Orioles, Athletics and Mariners, speaking with Theo Riddick. Credits: Rod Hirsch
ae184579f4b0c8149fdd_sompixtheoautograph.JPG
Theo Riddick autographs the shirt of a young admirer at yesterday's ceremony. Credits: Rod Hirsch
f56475cd2d017f45d956_sompixtheoparents.JPG
Theo Riddick poses for a picture Monday with his parents Celest Bell and Teddy Riddick. Credits: Rod Hirsch
b0e5b0c6b4d42b98d802_sompixtheo3__1_.jpg
Detriot Lions running back Theo Riddick runs upfield after catching one of his 80 passes during the 2015-16 NFL season.
8cc4ebe72fb8a2215629_sompixtheocrowd.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Hometown hero Theo Riddick was accorded the ultimate honor Monday morning on the football field where it all began.

Coaches, clergy, former teachers, members of the extended school family and students in the school’s summer football camp gathered under a sun-drenched sky as Immaculata High School renamed its football field in honor of the Detroit Lions’ running back Monday morning.

“I am so proud of you; you make every Spartan proud,” said Msgr. Seamus Brennan, director of the school and Immaculate Conception parish.

Sign Up for E-News

Riddick, who graduated Immaculata in 2009, smiled as the monsignor joked that many of the Jets and Giants fans in the crowd had an identity crisis, not knowing whether to continue their allegiance to the home teams or to switch over to the Lions; there were several Number 25 Lions’ jerseys in the crowd, with Riddick’s name stitched across the back.

The school’s athletic director, Thomas Gambino said Riddick was “the ultimate Spartan,” while always being “humble and approachable.”

Retired Spartans football coach Pierce Frauenheim was effusive in his praise of his former standout player, who scored 52 touchdowns during his four years in the backfield for the Spartans.

He holds the school record for scoring the most touchdowns in a season (23) in 2006. During his four years as a Spartan, Riddick rushed for over 4,000 yards.  Over a three-year period, he scored 312 points, a school record, as well as scoring 138 points in the 2006 season.  As a sophomore, Riddick was a key player in the Spartans State Championship run, with the team going 12-0.

“He worked as hard as anyone,” Frauenheim said, praising the NFL running back as “a good man who has demonstrated that time and time again.”

Frauenheim also reminisced about Riddick’s visit to the University of Notre Dame at the beginning of his senior year by which time Division I football coaches across the country were heavily scouting the talented athlete.

Riddick, however, had already made up his mind.

“‘You can tell all those coaches not to waste their time,’ ’’ Frauenheim recalls Riddick telling him. “He could have had any one of 300 scholarships,” Frauenheim added.

Riddick had a standout career at Notre Dame as a wide receiver and running back. He scored 13 touchdowns during his college career. During his senior year, he led Notre Dame with 190 carries for nearly 1,000 yards and tallied a team-best 1,287 all-purpose yards; his reception total is the fifth-most for a running back in single-season school history.

While at Notre Dame, he participated in the team’s community service outreach program and graduated with his degree in communications in three-and-a-half years.

After graduating in 2013 he entered the NFL draft and was taken on the sixth round by the Lions. He spent his first totwo seasons on special teams and as a backup running back. Last year was his breakout season as he led all NFL running backs with 80 receptions, setting a franchose record for single season receiving yards as a running back.

Speaking at a podium set up in the end zone of the field, Riddick kept his remarks brief, thanking his coaches, teachers, staff and community for their support over the years, and encouraging the young players ready for their first day of summer camp to remain focused and determined.

‘Anything is possible,” Riddick told the cluster of young players sitting cross-legged in front of him.

Frauenheim helped Riddick unveil the ceremonial banner reading “Theo Riddick Field” fastened to a chain link fence behind the goal post at the north end of the field.

Before setting off to work with the young players at the summer camp, Riddick spent time posing for pictures, signing autographs and catching up with his hometown friends and fans.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Found: Green Brook and Warren, Do You Know this Dog?

April 18, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Do you know me? I'm a young, male German Shepherd who appears to be around a year old. Found near Warrenville Road near the Green Brook, Bound Brook border and now at Somerset Regional Animal Shelter. Call  908-725-0308.

Looking for a Summer Program? Try Brain Training

April 22, 2018

Looking for an enriching and fun summer program for your children?  Why not try brain training?  Find out more: LearningRx in Warren is offering free trial sessions on May 2nd and May 9th.  Click on the following link for more information: https://www.learningrx.com/warren/local_page/free-1-hr-trial-session/. 

Health Alert from Borough of Warchung

A kitten from a colony of free-roaming cats in an isolated are in the vicinity of New Providence Road was recently found deceased. Testing revealed that the kitten was infected by rabies. All known exposures to humans have been addressed and there are no known exposures to resident pets. If anyone has knowledge of exposures to cats in this area please notify the health department at ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Down the Shore: Registration Now Open for NJ State Police Basic Boating Safety Course at the St. Francis Community Center May 1 and 3

April 18, 2018

BRANT BEACH, NJ - Are you ready for sun and warmth?  Spring and summer fun is not that far away even though the weather has been so cold recently.

The St. Francis Community Center is offering a Basic Boating Safety Course in May.  Registration is open for the course that is being held on Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the St. Francis Community Center, 4700 ...

Travels Update - Long Beach Island Summer Shuttle No Longer A Free Ride

BRANT BEACH - The Long Beach Island Shuttle, an extremely popular service for visitors and residents of Long Beach Island, will have a fee for the first time beginning Memorial Day weekend. 

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners made the announcement at their meeting on Monday, April 9. 

Here is the overview on the fees:

One-way shuttle rides from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Baby Seal Waddles Its Way onto Belmar Beach

BELMAR, NJ — A baby seal waddled its way onto the Fifth Avenue beach earlier today to enjoy one of the warmest days of spring so far.

Around noon on April 12, photographer Nancy Orlowski took these snapshots, which have also been posted on the Belmar Facebook page where it states that the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been notified.

This is the second known instance ...

Bateman Bill, “ Bijou’s Law”, to Require Training, Licensing for Pet Groomers

April 12, 2018

 

TRENTON, NJ - State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) will introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets by requiring pet groomers to be properly trained and licensed following the deaths of three dogs in five months at different New Jersey pet salons. .

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said ...

Op-Ed: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a huge blow to the middle-class

April 17, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

WHRHS Baseball: Watchung Hills Tops Morristown, 6-3

April 11, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Senior Joe Blajsa picked up his first win of the season and Kevin Badger went 4-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base and one RBI to lead Watchung Hills over Morristown on Wednesday, 6-3.

Blajsa pitched six and 2/3 innings allowing only six hits, striking out five and walking one. Junior Ben Ant came in for the strikeout save to pick up his ...

Blue Mass Celebration at Immaculate Conception School Honors Police

April 22, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Immaculate Conception School hosted a “Blue Mass” Friday morning at Immaculate Conception R.C. Church to honor the men and women of law enforcement.

The mass was attended by all students and staff in the K-8th grade school, with more than 100 members of law enforcement, including Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

The annual mass was also ...

Watchung Borough Council Recognizes Watchung Hills Senior Julia Cunningham, Proclaims April 19 Julia Cunningham Day

WATCHUNG, NJ - Watchung resident and Watchung Hills Regional High School graduating senior, Julia Cunningham was recognized at a special meeting of the Watchung Borough council Thursday. 

Councilman Bill Nehls praised Cunningham, “ as probably one of the best basketball players in the state,” and “an inspiration for girls in the seventh and eighth grades, ...

Police Investigate Bias Incident in Montgomery, Seek Help from Public

MONTGOMERY, NJ - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson township Police Director/Capt. Thomas Wain are asking the public for help in the investigation of what is being considered a bias crime.

Detectives assigned to the investigation released that the following information based on the preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview ...

Loaded Gun and Drug Paraphernalia Found in Warren Traffic Stop, Prosecutor Says

SOMERVILLE, NJ –  Two men were charged with possession a handgun, hollow bullets and drug paraphernalia after a motor vehicle stop in Warren Township on Saturday,Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announced on Thursday. 

Martin Harris, age 33, and David ...

Down the Shore: Registration Now Open for NJ State Police Basic Boating Safety Course at the St. Francis Community Center May 1 and 3

April 18, 2018

BRANT BEACH, NJ - Are you ready for sun and warmth?  Spring and summer fun is not that far away even though the weather has been so cold recently.

The St. Francis Community Center is offering a Basic Boating Safety Course in May.  Registration is open for the course that is being held on Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the St. Francis Community Center, 4700 ...

TAPintoTravels Area Teens Invited to the First Meeting of Aviation Explorer Post 523

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Exploring helps young people make more informed decisions about future careers and learn about different jobs within a particular field. 

In that vein, Aviation Explorer Post 523 will hold its first meeting for young men and women, ages 14-20, on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m., at DM Airports, 8 Airport Road in Morristown. Future meetings will ...

Nightmare Commute for Raritan Valley Line Commuters Monday

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Raritan Valley Line commuters spent more than three hours trying to make their way home from New York City on Monday following the breakdown of a train near Union Station during rush hour.

At 9:47 p.m., NJT tweeted:

Raritan Valley Line westbound train service is operating on or close to schedule following an earlier disabled NJ Transit train near Union ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...