Riverhead’s 6-5, 320-pound senior lineman Ethan Greenidge set out this season with one crucial personal goal in his mind — land a Division I scholarship.

He put in the extra effort this summer to begin to get noticed. (See prior story). He attended camps at multiple schools and received great feedback. All that was left was to prove his worth on the football field.

Game after game, he did just that. And on Friday, he received his third scholarship offer.

2014_1110_greenidge_2University of New Hampshire and Stony Brook University had both given him a scholarship coming into Friday when Villanova joined the chase to land Greenidge. Villanova had been interested all year long and with the improvements they saw each week in his highlight tapes, decided to make the investment.

“(Villanova) told me I looked like a totally different player than last year,” Greenidge said Sunday night. “They were impressed with the strides I made this year. All they were waiting for were my grades to come in so I could get admitted to the school.”

But with the season coming to an end, Stony Brook asked him to make a decision by Sunday. They had courted him all season and were hoping to secure a verbal commitment. So with that in mind, Greenidge went to visit Villanova’s campus. He had already seen New Hampshire and Stony Brook in the previous weeks.

He attended the football game on Saturday night and got the full sales pitch from the Villanova staff on Sunday.

“When I got on campus the coach told me that ‘I consider you a million dollar man’,” Greenidge said. “Between the $250,000 scholarship and the potential job following college, I was already a millionaire he told me.”

What followed was a sales pitch beyond the football field. Greenidge was more interested in his future after football and with Villanova’s high academic prestige, it was an easy sell. After seeing everything they had to offer, Greenidge made his decision before he made the drive back home.

He gave his verbal commitment to Villanova University.

“It’s just the right fit for me,” Greenidge said. “The connections I could make at Villanova made the decision for me. I know after I graduate, I’ll be set up with a good job. Ultimately it’s not about football. I know if I would go to a school that was really good at football but not as good academically I wouldn’t necessarily have a great job. I think I made a mature decision by choosing Villanova because of the connections they have outside of the school.”

“It’s all about who you know,” he continued.

Another thing that really sold him at Villanova was the family atmosphere.

“You know how it is here at Riverhead,” Greenidge said. “We’re all like a big family. It was important for me to be in a school that had that same feel. I asked the players and they told me that they hang out all the time, they have dinner all the time, they’re always together and that’s the biggest thing for me.”

Though nothing is officially signed yet, Greenidge can still change his mind and attend another school but that’s unlikely.

“I gave them my word,” Greenidge said.

In Feburary, he’ll have to send out his official letter of intent. Until then, he gets to do what he does best, play football.

Greenidge will have a chance to be one of the only players in Riverhead history to have three rings. The Blue Waves are coming off back-to-back Suffolk County championships.

“One goal down, one more to go,” Greenidge said. “Time to go after that championship.”

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl

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Michael Hejmej is a freelance writer, real estate agent and native of Riverhead.