Desmond Ridder will be standing in a spotlight brighter than any he's been under before.

The senior Cincinnati quarterback has been as crucial a piece as any for the Bearcats as they've gone from middle-of-the-road AAC team to annual FBS powerhouse. He and the Bearcats will now have their biggest challenge in program history as they prepare to face No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals, the first appearance by a Group of Five team in the CFP era.

While Ridder hasn't always been on the big stage, he's long been a star performer, putting up historic numbers for the Bearcats in his four years in red and black. And after the CFP, he'll turn his attention to the NFL, where he has a shot to be one of the first quarterbacks off the board in 2022.

Here's all you need to know about Ridder as he takes on the Crimson Tide.

Underrated recruit

Ridder is viewed as one of the top quarterbacks in the country, but back in 2017, when he was coming out of high school, he wasn't even one of the top players in his recruiting class.