Game Is One Thing He Is Serious About
SEFFNER - A kid would have to be pretty weird for his family members to tease him by saying he was raised by wild birds and handed over at a later date. Well, Armwood's Ryne Giddins fits the bill. Though Giddins proclaims he's just an "average kid," you might be hard-pressed to find anyone associated with the Hawks program to back up that statement. In fact, Giddins sometimes can't help but chuckle when he tries to claim he's normal. It's safe to say Giddins is far from average, both in personality and ability on the football field. Luckily for Giddins, though, it's his prowess on the football field that garners most of the attention. And he gets a lot."He's the type of player that every team would want to have," Hawks defensive coordinator Matt Thompson said. After a breakout junior season in which the standout defensive lineman set a school single-season record with 21 sacks while helping Armwood reach the Class 4A state semifinals, Giddins has moved into the conversation with the upper-echelon players in high school football. The recruiting service Rivals.com ranks Giddins as the 98th best prospect in the nation. He holds 74 scholarship offers, many from the nation's elite college football programs. He also received and accepted an invitation to play in January's U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which is regarded as high school football's premier all-star game. Giddins essentially is in a position all high school football players covet. It's a position he's happy to be in, but one he understands must be treated with humility. "I've just got to stay humble and try not to stick my chest too high, because at any time it could be taken away," Giddins said. "I've earned what I have and I want to keep it. It's hard to make it to the top, but it's easy to fall down. I can't get too big-headed, and I just have to stay on top of my game." Giddins always seems on top of his game - even when it comes to displaying his colorful, off-the-wall personality. Sit down with Giddins for any length of time, and it's possible you'd leave believing he's got a screw loose. It's almost certain you'll end up laughing at something he says, be it his wisecracks to teammates or random one-liners. "It ain't that he's humorous," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said, laughing. "He's just goofy." Giddins' humor isn't beloved by all as much as it is inside the Hawks' locker room. Callahan remembers comments made by an opposing school's administrator during the Hawks' spring jamboree at Newsome on May 22, someone who was not so thrilled with Giddins walking around with a severed mannequin head, which Giddins refers to as Trishia. Trishia became a staple with Giddins on the Hawks' sidelines during the 2007 season. He converses with Trishia before games, though he admits (with a chuckle) the conversations are a bit one-sided. More than anything, Trishia's face offers what Giddins needs before taking the field - a soothing sense. "When it comes to football, me talking to the doll head, it just calms me down," Giddins said. What Giddins always is calm talking about is his future. It's something he takes seriously. Those who are close to him and whose opinions he values the most - coaches and family - have told him how much they believe he can achieve. "It just gets me happy inside knowing I'm working my hardest and someone can see that," Giddins said. "It gives me that extra boost and makes me want to work harder."
Reporter Adam Adkins can be reached at (813) 657-4533 or [email protected]patrib.com.