Big E is headed to the Big Easy.
Ethan Greenidge, a former standout athlete at Riverhead High School, will get his shot to play football at the ultimate level.
Greenidge, 21, intends to sign with the New Orleans Saints, he said shortly after the end of the 2019 NFL Draft Saturday. His name was not called among the 240 picks in the seven-round draft, but he still had several offers to choose from as an undrafted free agent, he said.
Greenidge, a 6-foot-4, 335-pound offensive tackle from Flanders, played in 43 games during his four-year career at Villanova. He was a two-time selection to the CAA Football All-Conference Team. This past season he was first team all-CAA, starting 10 games.
As the final rounds of the draft unfolded Saturday, he said he received calls from Oakland Raiders GM Mike Mayock and the Buffalo Bills. Neither team ended up selected him with a draft pick.
When the draft ends, teams race to sign remaining players who they believe can be impactful in the future. Undrafted free agents often have an equal shot at landing a roster spot as late round draft picks.
Rookie minicamps are held in early May, the next step in the process for players to earn a spot on the roster in August. Preseason training camp starts in July.
“We are very proud of him and I know he will represent the Riverhead football family in the most positive way,” said Riverhead varsity coach Leif Shay.
Greenidge had received an invitation to the NFL Combine in late February and early March. An injury prevented him from competing in workouts, but he still interviewed with teams. He had surgery in late January to repair a torn shoulder labrum. Prior to the combine, he played in the 95th annual East-West Shrine Game, a college postseason all-star game.
A draft profile on NFL.com graded Greenidge as a 5.0, projecting to a 50/50 chance at making a final roster.
In February 2015, Greenidge formally signed with Villanova and accepted a full scholarship.
“He’s probably one of the best students of the game that I’ve seen here in a long, long time,” Villanova coach Mark Ferrante said in December. “He watches a lot of film on his own. He does a lot of self study. He does a lot of opponent study.”
— CAA Football (@CAAFootball) December 14, 2018
Greenidge not only excelled in football at Riverhead, but also played basketball and threw the shot put and discus in the spring track and field season. He threw the shot put just over 50 feet as a junior in 2014. He was a two-way player at Riverhead in football, also excelling on the defensive line.
Prior to the start of the 2014 season, Greenidge’s teammate Raheem Brown said: “Ethan swallows five kids by himself, so it’s great to have him on our team.”
Greenidge becomes the first Riverhead graduate to get a shot at the NFL since Miguel Maysonet, the talented running back who played at Stony Brook University. Maysonet signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after the 2013 NFL draft ended. He bounced around several teams from 2013-15 and played in preseason games, but never made it onto a team’s final roster.
Riverhead has history of graduates going on to play in the NFL. Ed Danowski (Class of 1930), Ted Wegert (Class of 1951), Scott Mersereau (Class of 1983) and James Hill (Class of 1993) all played in the NFL.
Photo caption: Ethan Greenidge excelled on the offensive line for Villanova the past four years. (Credit: Villanova Athletics)