Calvin Orin Ridley is an American football wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). His journey to the NFL is a story about human resilience, belief, and dedication to a goal. But for Calvin, joining the NFL is just the beginning.
Based on the quality of his performances for Atlanta Falcons so far, there is no doubt that Calvin is set for several years in the NFL, playing at the pinnacle of football. But to appreciate the successes today, and those to come, it is essential to understand the story of his past, his present, and the woman of his future.
The Tough Beginnings of Calvin Ridley
Calvin Orin Ridley was born on December 20, 1994, in Coconut Creek, Florida. He attended Lion’s Creek Middle School and Monarch High School both in Coconut Creek, Florida. Calvin Ridley was born to Colin Ridley (father) and Kassna Daniels (mother). When he was seven years old, his father got deported to Guyana, and the family has not seen him ever since.
The wide receiver is the oldest of four brothers, including Riley Ridley, a football player with the Georgia Bulldogs of the University of Georgia.
Growing up was tough for the brothers. With their father out of the scene, their mother tried her best to keep the family going. But she had her issues which led to the brothers spending a couple of years in foster care at SOS Children’s Villages in Coconut Creek. According to Calvin, being there was hard, but football was their way out.
As kids, even though things were not as smooth as they would have wanted, they always talked about playing in the NFL and dreamed of going to college. Their brotherly bond extended to the pitch. From the first time Calvin and Riley played on a team, at ages 11 and 9, respectively, they were always teammates.
While at SOS Villages, the brothers attended Lion’s Creek Middle School in Coconut Creek. By the time they reached high school, their mother had her life back in order.
His Brother Inspired Him To Success
Speaking of the brothers, their high school coach, Calvin Davis, said the village and also their mother played a huge part in ensuring that they stayed on the right path and had an opportunity to play on the big stage. As for Calvin, a student coach during his senior season at Monarch High, he helped keep Riley focused, talking to him often about doing the right things.
In early 2018, the brothers were fielded against each other in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and their mother and family members were present to cheer them. At the end of the game, Calvin and Riley Ridley exchanged jerseys on the field.
Riley Ridley played for the University of Georgia football team as a wide receiver. In 2019, he also achieved his dream of playing in the NFL, after the Chicago Bears selected him in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Looking back at where they started, these young chaps showed they are resilient fighters. Against all the odds, the brothers never let anything block the sight of their dreams, and because they stuck with it and never gave up, it has become a reality. Making this transition, going to college and getting their degrees is proof that they are fighters.
The Dogged College Career of Calvin Ridley
In high school, Calvin Ridley was part of the Knights, the school’s football team. The young man was 19 by his senior year. As a result, he only played three games for his school, thanks to Florida’s age restriction rules which bans over 19 years nine months old athletes.
Regardless, his short high school career was enough to place him among the highest-rated players in the country. Calvin was a five-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals, and ESPN named him the best receiver in the class of 2015.
Calvin Ridley received offers from several schools, but the Coconut Creek-born wide receiver committed to the University of Alabama. He signed at Alabama as the top wide receiver in the 2015 recruiting class and 12th-best player in any position, according to 247Sports.
It didn’t take long for Calvin to burst onto the scene, catching 89 passes for over 1,000 yards as a true freshman. But his numbers dropped in each of the next two seasons. He made 72 catches as a sophomore and 63 as a junior—and he never got over that 1,000-yard mark again.
In his first game after being redshirted in 2014, he recorded three receptions for 22 yards and scored the first touchdown of his collegiate career. At the end of the 2015 season, he led the SEC in receptions with 89 points. Ridley remained a strong force in 2016 and 2017, but in 2018, he announced that he would forego his senior year to join the 2018 NFL Draft.
Going Pro With The Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons selected Calvin Ridley in the first round (26th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. On July 5, 2018, he signed a four-year deal with the team worth $10.9 million, with a signing bonus of $6.1 million. Since joining the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, Ridley has seen action in at least 29 games making 15 starts, while totaling 127 receptions for 1,687 yards and 17 touchdowns.
In 2018, he recorded eight receptions for 105 yards. It marked his second 100-plus receiving yard game during Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He had the fourth-most touchdowns in the league, with two touchdowns after Week 2.
During Week 5 against the Houston Texans, he had a 29-yard receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Falcons longest play from scrimmage, and finished the game with five catches for 88 yards.
In his sophomore season, Calvin Ridley solidified his place in the NFL with even more outstanding performances. Starting with the first week of the season, he delivered a four pass for 64 yards performance. His season was cut short by an abdominal injury in the 14th week. Yet, he still managed a more than satisfactory 63 receptions and set a personal receiving yards record of 861 yards.
It might be early days for the Coconut Creek native, but he is already showing he is worth his salt on football’s biggest stage.
The Wide Receiver’s Love Life
According to the relationship profiling website whosdatedwho.com, Dominique Fitchard has been the only known girlfriend of Calvin Ridley. Dominique Fitchard is an American born on February 9, 1993.
The couple got engaged in Feb 2019. They announced their engagement via their respective Instagram accounts. The couple got congratulatory messages from fans and well-wishers, including the Atlanta Falcons
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 19, 2019
The pair are all over each other on their social media pages. However, there is not much information about his fiance, Dominique Fitchard. We do know that she graduated from Johnson High School and played varsity basketball. She has a twin sister, Monique, per Fab Wags, she is studying Educational Therapy with her sister at Tuskegee University.
The young couple has expanded their family with the birth of a daughter. Her name is Cree Michelle. She was born on June 27, 2020. The world is hoping they will tie the knot soon.