"With the new coach and everything about eight starters transferred so we kind of went south from that," Richard explains about Piper's season. "We had a young team and we went 1-8 this season. I had to carry the bulk of the defense basically because we were young.
"I just tried to carry the team," the big defensive end with speed in the 4.8 range adds. "A lot of teams ran away from my side most every play so I was making sure we had the right angles, we had the pursuit, and at the same time I was playing I had to coach on the field."
Richard also says that he believes his leadership ability is what allows him to excel as a player. "It's playing as a team player," he says about his best attribute as a defender. "Being a player that just doesn't think about myself while I am on the field. Or, I just don't think about, 'I have got to make plays,' and forget about what else is going on."
With his size, speed and strong leadership ability, Richard has been garnering attention from college recruiters all over the country, but says that he has now narrowed his list down to six schools. "My list is looking like Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, NC State, Pitt and Ohio State," he explains.
The standout defender, who has already visited Tennessee, says that he is planning on visiting Auburn on December 17th, Georgia at some point and one other school as well.
He also notes that quite a few teams already have or are planning to make in-home visits to Fort Lauderdale. "I have had Georgia, Clemson and Florida State in already. Tennessee is coming sometime next week, NC State is coming next week and Florida is coming next week.
Auburn assistant coach Eddie Gran, who recruits south Florida for the Tigers, stays in contact with with Richard. "Yeah, he was talking about that," Richard says, noting that Gran wants to schedule an in-home visit for the Tigers. "He said he wanted to meet my folks and bring down Coach (Tommy) Tuberville and everything."
Richard says that the biggest thing he will be looking for during his in-home and on campus visits will simply be honesty. "Just for a coach to be honest with me," he explains about what he is looking for. "If a coach isn't honest I will find out anyway from the Internet or through the grapevine. So, basically I want a coach to be honest with me and let me know everything and just don't try to slide nothing slick in there. Just give it to me straight because I can handle it."
The Piper High standout also notes that the education each school has to offer is one other factor that will be very significant in his final decision. "That is the number one thing because football doesn't last forever, but they can't take away your degree, so academics are very important to me."
As for the Tigers, Richard says that he has already seen a few things to get excited about without even setting foot on campus. "I like that they are very aggressive on defense," he explains. "Also, players, if they work hard they have the opportunity to play early. Also how the coaches get them prepared for the game the upcoming week."
As for a time frame for a decision, Richard says that he is not going to make a set schedule. "There is not any particular time that I have, just whenever I feel comfortable on making a decision, then I will.
Although the big senior has played multiple sports in the past, Richard says that will not be the case this year. "I am just training right now," he notes. I was going to play basketball, but I decided to leave it alone. I am going to college to play football so I might as well get ready for two-a-days or three-a-days, whatever is coming at me."