Desmond Ridder was a three-star prospect out of the state of Kentucky by 247sports and Scout, while Rivals had him listed as a two-star prospect. The University of Cincinnati was Ridder’s lone offer, and he officially signed his letter of intent on February 1st, 2017.
The 2017 season saw Desmond Ridder on the bench as a redshirt. The Bearcats ended up with a 4-8 record under quarterback Hayden Moore. The 2017 season was also Luke Fickell’s first as head coach of the University of Cincinnati.
Desmond Ridder was able to beat out Hayden Moore in 2018. Ridder finished the season with a 20-5 touchdown to interception ratio, as well as a 62.4 completion percentage. Ridder threw for 2,445 yards, but also scored 5 rushing touchdowns on 583 yards. The Bearcats finished with a record of 11-2, beating Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl. The 11 win season was only the third such record in the program’s history.
In 2019, the Bearcats finished with an 11-3 record, including a 7-1 conference record. However, the season saw Desmond Ridder battle through an injury to his throwing shoulder and did not start in the first game against Memphis. Ridder saw a decrease in production as he finished with 2,164 passing yards and a 55.1 completion percentage.