There will no doubt be some Razorback fans surprised that the University of Arkansas offered a deep snapper a scholarship on Sunday.
Heck, specialty star Rhett Richardson of Rockwall, Texas was pleasantly surprised himself.
Richardson (6-2, 215) gladly accepted the offer and became the Razorbacks' 24th commitment of the 2007 class that also includes a commitment from Springdale kicker Alex Tejada – a break from the way Arkansas has done things in the past.
"They told me they were making a concerted effort to make their special teams as strong as they can be and that they had decided they wanted to offer me a scholarship to make sure I came to Arkansas," Richardson said. "It is obviously very rare for a deep snapper to get a scholarship offer. It shows how committed they are to getting better and I am glad to accept it."
Richardson, ranked as the third best high school snapper and the fourth best overall prospect in the country by ChrisSailer.com, will be in line to take over for departing Razorback senior Brett Goode, who snapped in the Senior Bowl on Saturday.
"Basically they told me that Brett was going to be gone and they were looking for a guy to come in right away and take over," Richardson said. "I plan to get up there during the summer, enroll in school and start working out with my teammates so we will have great chemistry when the season rolls around.
It would appear that Arkansas will have new Razorbacks playing key roles in both the kicking and punting games next season.
Richardson would be snapping to a new punter – likely Jeremy Davis – while he also will be working with new holder Clark Irwin and likely Tejada on PATs and field goals.
"Jeremy Davis was actually one of the guys who showed me around this weekend and I look forward to working with him and Irwin and the new kicker," Richardson said. "We all know how important the kicking game can be so I am going to work hard so that every snap is where it needs to be – in time and accurate."
Richardson played tight end as a sophomore and junior before devoting all his time to snapping as a senior.
"We needed somebody and I gave it try and found out I was really good at it," Richardson said. "So my coach said I think you have a chance to do this at the D-I level so I want you to work on this all the time. We had a great kicking game at Rockwall last season."
He was invited to camps in both California and the Nike Elite 12 one in Las Vegas.
The one in Vegas was sponsored by Chris Sailer and placed fourth out of 97 participants.
"They were both great opportunities for me and I got better at each one," Richardson said. "It's not something everybody wants to do or can do and really the only time you would hear the name of a snapper is if you did something wrong. But I think we all know how important the snap can be in a game."
Richardson has perfected his art to the point that he is above the level of what is thought to be a normal snap time.
"Getting the ball back to punter anywhere from .72 to .75 seconds is considered very good, but I have been getting it back there at .69," Richardson said. "Every little bit helps. As far as kicking extra points and field goals, you want the ball back there and kicked within two seconds, Anything else and you are asking for it trouble."
Ironically, Richardson participated with a future teammate in one of the more exciting high school games in Texas last season.
Rockwall jumped out to a 33-14 lead at halftime over Allen before future Razorback quarterback Nathan Dick led the Eagles back for a 48-47 win.
"It was some game," Richardson said. "Nathan is very good. Wish we could have pulled that out."
Now they'll get to team up at Arkansas, who is also getting a walk on deep snapper next season in North Little Rock's Derrell Hartwick.
"I'm really looking forward to being a Razorback," Richardson said. "They have a great program and I think we are going to have a great future ahead of us. I am very excited about it."
A Needed Commit
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Scout On the Road: SeptemberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of September...
Scout FootballWednesday at 2:00 PM
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM