Name: Will Richardson
Hometown: Burlington, NC
24/7: 90, four stars; #22 OT, NC #10, US #247
ESPN: 83, four stars; #8 OG, NC #9, SE #71, US #129
Rivals: 5.7, three stars; #41 OT, NC #17
Scout: three stars; #86 OT
Other offers: Florida State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Louisville, Duke, Indiana, East Carolina, Ball State, Ohio
Time to take advantage of the bye week to catch up on the 2014 recruiting class. Today we have Will Richardson, who committed in May and combines his presences with Steven Moss to give UVA a pretty formidable offensive line class even with just two members in it.
Richardson, first off, is a large, large guy. I put 320 up there for his weight because the sites can't agree; he's either around 305 or 335 depending on which site you ask, so I split the difference. Either way, he's huge. And could get even bigger if he's not careful: ESPN notes, and from the pictures that are out there, truthfully, that his frame could carry even more weight, and that Richardson will need to work to make sure he doesn't get too big and that the weight he adds is lean weight. (It seems, in looking around, that the 305-ish figures are the more recent ones, which is good news.)
Anyway, that's a good problem in an offensive lineman, especially one as nimble as Richardson. He played basketball for a while at Cummings, and ESPN also likes his ability to move around in space. Richardson has been told by the coaching staff that they want him at left tackle, and it's not hard to imagine that the staff does see him as the left tackle of the future.
The guru ratings have a little bit of a wide-ish split, but I think that's explainable. Richardson doesn't seem to have hit the camp circuit much, for one, and the fact that he's earned four-star ratings without doing so is impressive. Also, the pessimistic one is Scout, which is the guiltiest of the four in not scouting players who aren't already big-time recruits or going to a big-time school. Rivals is decidedly less optimistic than the other two, as well, but they still rate him pretty highly.
Offers-wise, well, I'll take anyone with an FSU and a VT offer. Richardson didn't really allow a lot of time for many other schools to offer him, having focused a lot on FSU and UVA in his recruiting, and there's a blurb in one of the articles I read about him basically telling the UNC coaches not to bother. Otherwise he'd almost certainly have had an offer from there, too. Just having FSU on his list is enough to justify the four-star ratings, though.
So: future left tackle prospect if everything works out. Massive yet nimble player who is in good enough shape to play some basketball as well as both sides of the line in football. Oh, and he's a 3.9 student who wants to study architecture. (We'll see about that with the time commitment and all - I can't remember a single football-playing A-schooler who was in something other than urban planning - but just remember Will Hill double-majored, one of which was bloody biology.) What's not to like? Just one thing: health. Richardson tore his meniscus in Cummings's first game of the season and will probably have knee surgery. It's not his first rodeo with the knee doctor; he also hurt it (although I don't know if it's the same one) playing basketball last winter.
Richardson's coach says he's had players have that meniscus surgery and come back in "two to three weeks" but I bet none of them weighed 300 pounds. And the coach doesn't know when the injury happened, which is a bad sign, because it means it just happened without a big production with trainers and being helped off the field and all. Could it be that Richardson is just too big for the stress he's putting on his knees? Playing basketball, offensive line, defensive line, and oh yeah the shot put too? I think that's possible.
So it's not just for mobility and strength reasons that Richardson will need to watch his weight. The knee thing could very well linger enough to force a redshirt, even if that weren't already par for the course for O-linemen. If he stays healthy, there's little doubt Richardson has the goods to develop into the left tackle of the future. Both tackle second-stringers are true freshmen, so it's far too early to project their development, which means it's also awfully tough to say when Richardson might expect to see the two-deep. Health, though, appears as if it'll be a little bit more of an effort for him than for most others.