Sheldon Richardson, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound five-star tight end/defensive end from Gateway High School in St. Louis, Mo., is still committed to Missouri but plans on taking an official visit to Miami today, Jan. 30, just to be sure.
“I can’t put a number on it, but I’m still committed to Missouri,” Richardson said. “That’s where I plan on signing on signing day. They are still the team to beat.”
So do the ‘Canes stand a chance? “Well, anything can still happen,” he said. “I’m really excited to be taking a trip there. Guys from the Midwest don’t get a chance to go to Miami very often. It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Opportunity being the keyword, Richardson also believes he’d have a great opportunity to play early at Miami. “They said they have like three senior tight ends and that I would play early,” Richardson said. “They said they wouldn’t want to just throw me to the wolves my sophomore season and try and rotate me in as a freshman.”
Richardson, ranked as the No. 4 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, says he also has a great relationship with the Miami coaches. “I really like (running back) coach Tommie Robinson,” he said. “He’s a good coach, but most of all he’s a great person. He’s real humble and straightforward. He’s just real and that’s my favorite thing in a coach. It’s more than just football with him.
“I also really like (tight end) coach Joe Pannunzio and (head coach) Randy Shannon,” he said. “They’re all great guys.”
While the ‘Canes are recruiting him as tight end, he says Missouri still hasn’t specified. “It’ll be either defensive end or tight end,” he said. “I’ve also heard rumors that I could play both ways in college and that would be awesome. I’d love to do that.”
While Richardson may not have a preference between defensive end and tight end, he says he doesn’t want to play defensive tackle and that’s why Minnesota didn’t make his final cut. Richardson visited the Gophers on Nov. 7, but cut them from his favorites after learning they wanted him to bulk up to play defensive tackle.
“I don’t think I could handle the extra weight,” he said. “I didn’t want to do that.”
The only other visit he took was to local favorite Missouri. “I love that they are in-state,” he said. “People know me here. I have connections and support and that’s pretty cool. I love the fan support they have. I know a lot of guys who go away to college and come home nobody knows them anymore, but staying close that won’t happen.”
Clearly the ‘Canes will have their work cut out for them this weekend if they are going to land Richardson’s signature on Feb. 4.
Although he says he’s been down to these two for a little while now, he says there have been a few schools trying to jump aboard late in the process. “Schools like Florida, USC and Tennessee have been showing a lot of interest this month,” he said.
“Florida offered me at the beginning of January and USC was like a week later,” he said. ‘Then all of sudden Tennessee starts recruiting me too. I told them all that it was a little late for me. I appreciate the interest and I know they need to do what’s in the best interest of their programs, but I didn’t want to start looking at anyone new.”
Richardson plans on having a press conference at his high school at 11 am on signing day. “All the local stations are coming out,” he said. “I’m hoping that ESPN shows up too.”
He says he wants to major in criminal justice and reports a 2.4 core GPA and scored a 17 ACT twice. He’ll be retaking it again on Feb. 7.