Milan Richard grew up in a family of Georgia athletes. His parents, Bill and Veronica Walker, were track stars for the Bulldogs, and his uncle was one of the greatest of all time in the red and black. The senior tight end will be playing his college football at Clemson, and his family couldn't have been more supportive throughout the process.
"I'm still a Georgia fan, I have nothing against Georgia, I pull for the, but I fell in love with Clemson. I went there, I fell in love with the offense, the coaches, the place. I'm always going to be a Georgia fan, but I'm going to go to Clemson," Richard said.
Walker and the Richards have been out at Semper Fi practice every day supporting Milan. Parents and kids come up and ask Walker for pictures, he doesn't mind, but the real reason he's there is for Milan.
"I'm really just here for my nephew, but I do do a lot with the kids in sports all over because I think it's so important. I was very fortunate growing up to have people that helped me out a great deal. I was lucky to have some great coaches that showed me a lot of discipline. I think there's some kids here that could need that, and if I could tell them something that's going to advance them, I'm happy to do that," Walker said.
Richard himself is used to his uncle's celebrity status. It doesn't bother him that people want to meet his uncle.
"Obviously, he's not a regular guy, but to me, he really is just my uncle. It's cool for him to speak to people, people always ask me questions about him. It's fine, I don't mind people coming up and talking to him, I'm used to it," Richard said.
For Walker, this week is extra special. He's been a big part of his nephew's life, and seeing him make it to this level is very meaningful for him.
"What's so amazing is to see them when they were little and to see them right now, you're so proud of them. He's become a very good young man. You have to give credit to the parents, Bill and Veronica, they've done a great job with him," Walker said.
"Not just at football, but as a person. I think that's the most important thing. We've been taught all our lives how to be a good person first and football has come second. Because he is a good person, you know he'll be a good football player."
He knows Clemson is lucky to have Richard.
"Clemson is going to get a leader. They're going to get a guy that's going to work extremely hard because he knows how to do that. They're going to get a guy that's never going to quit, and they're going to get a guy that's always going to be positive. That's something we've been taught all throughout our family is to always be positive no matter what happens, no matter how tough it gets, it will always be okay," Walker said.
The Semper Fi All-American Bowl features many of the nation's top high school football players. They've been matching up against each other in practice and facing tougher competition that maybe they're used to. Walker says these all-star level match-ups really help to prepare the athletes for their college careers.
"You can stay in your little hometown and play with the kids there, but you get out here and you see the size of the kids and see what you're going to have to be facing. I think this is one of the best things the kids can have," he said.
Walker will speak to his nephew's team before the game Sunday. He's used to speaking to athletes, but this one will be extra personal for him. He wants the focus to be on the athletes and let them know it's their time to shine.
"This is their day and their time because this is so special here. The big thing I say to them is that they have to enjoy it. This is an opportunity for them to really learn a lot. Sometimes you think you know a lot until you get out to a situation like this. I think this is what really makes you excel and know what you need to work on," Walker said.
Richard himself couldn't be more excited to compete and it means even more to have his parents, and his "Uncle Herschel" out on the sidelines.
"It's a once in a lifetime thing, to come out here with some of the best players in the country and compete for a week," Richard said.
"I love my family support, they've been behind me throughout my whole recruitment and even before I started to be recruited, so it's definitely cool that they're out here."