Undersized Christian Ringo a disruptive force in college
~Green Bay — One day later, Christian Ringo was true to his word. The Green Bay Packers’ sixth-round pick vowed to Google “Mike Daniels” – the name coach Mike McCarthy told reporters kept coming up when the team discussed Ringo.
So Ringo did his research. And he realized he’s seen this No. 76 ripping through offensive lines before.
“He’s a bad man,” Ringo said.
The Packers wouldn’t mind striking gold again on the defensive line.
After seeing Daniels defy size limitations, they rolled the dice on this 6-foot-0 ½, 293-pound defensive end out of Louisiana-Lafayette three years later. His 11 ½ sacks in 2014 were the seventh-highest total for a defensive lineman. He did it the Daniels way, too. On leverage, first-step explosion, desire. Maybe there’s room for another overlooked defensive lineman to unleash some rage in Green Bay.
Out of Jackson, Miss., Ringo badly wanted to stay in his home state. Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss all recruited him, too.
But Ringo – checking his mailbox, refreshing his email, waiting for a phone call – never got a scholarship offer.
“I guess they felt I was undersized,” said Ringo, who was also 260 then, “and they didn’t want to take that chance on me. I was just waiting on one of them to offer me a scholarship.
“In the SEC, you think of 6-3, 6-4 D-tackles.”
If this sounds familiar, it should. Daniels had next-to-no Division I interest before Iowa offered a scholarship late. He was ready to attend Villanova.
What do programs miss? What do they fail to see?
Like Daniels, Ringo points to “passion,” to the fact that “the real measure is heart.”
He wasn’t facing Big Ten competition by any means, but Ringo was disruptive. Playing in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, he finished with 109 tackles (35 for loss) and 21 sacks. By his sophomore year, his squat press was up to 625 pounds. Seeing those 45-pound weights adding up, the Ragin’ Cajun coaches made Ringo stop maxing out in fear of injury.
In the weight room – blasting rappers Kevin Gates or Meek Mill over Pandora – he found his zone.
He couldn’t play at 6 foot 4. He could strengthen his lower body to uproot offensive linemen with a low, violent center of gravity.
“I’ll get a good power clean in, anything that’s explosive to help keep me explosive,” Ringo said. “I like benching. Curls. Gush-out at the end of it — when you just kill your arms with different stations. You have curls, push press, push-ups, all that, it’s a circuit.”
Daniels learned to embrace the fact that he isn’t the “prototype.” Ringo is the midst of that process.
“I can feel where he’s coming from with that, being the short guy,” he said. “At first, I used to think, ‘Man, why couldn’t I just be two inches taller?!’ I had to learn and just accept that and know I’m unique for a reason.
“I know my get-off is key. Being shorter than the O-linemen, it helps me keep my leverage low. That’s where my power comes from. And my coach always preached me to have violent hands.”
The Packers noticed.
After whiffing on the likes of Justin Harrell and Jerel Worthy, general manager Ted Thompson used Daniels as a blueprint of sorts here. He called Ringo a “quick-twitch, penetrate”-type of player. The sack total stood out.
“Yeah that grabs your attention, sure,” Thompson said. “It’s splash stuff. But you have to do the nuts and bolts, too. We like him. We think he’s a pretty good player.”
The hometown snubs, all long, were motivation. Still are. Ringo never doubted he’d be in the NFL.
“That was one of the biggest drives – leaving my home state and having to go to another state to play college ball,” he said. ‘Everybody from Mississippi loves our state, love our roots.”
He never considered a different career path in Mississippi, instead growing with the new staff at Louisiana-Lafayette. Online footage of Ringo is fleeting. Right now, to most everyone, he’s a mystery.
Ringo insists he’ll be the one sticking around after practice with a veteran (maybe Daniels) to get a drill right. He realizes that precise technique takes precedence now. Green Bay is his Louisiana-Lafayette – the team willing to take a chance on a short end with a motor.
For years, Ringo looked up to arguably the most memorable motor ever on a football field, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle.
He says there’s Randle to his game.
“I believe so,” he said. “We’re going to see.”
And, really, the Packers would probably take half of a Mike Daniels.