Riddick to transfer from Gardner-Webb

Boiling Springs, NC ( - All-America defensive end Shaquille Riddick plans to transfer from Gardner-Webb before the 2014 season, the Big South university announced Tuesday.

Riddick finished fifth in the 2013 Buck Buchanan Award voting for FCS defensive player of the year and would have been the nation's top returning vote-getter this season.

The 6-foot-6, 244-pound pro prospect will seek out opportunities to play on the FBS level closer to his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He is on track to graduate two semesters early - in August - and can use his final season of eligibility immediately pending graduation and acceptance into a graduate program at an FBS school.

"Shaquille has put himself in a position academically to graduate two semesters ahead of schedule and he feels strongly that he should transfer in an attempt to play FBS football closer to home," Gardner-Webb coach Carroll McCray said. "We are always disappointed when a young man chooses to leave our program, but we wish him well in his future pursuits. Gardner-Webb football will move on. We look forward to an outstanding 2014 season as we push toward a berth in the FCS playoffs."

As a junior last year, Riddick finished with 67 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and 17 quarterback pressures in 11 games. Gardner-Webb had a 7-5 season.