BYU in Louisiana player's top three

Apparently, BYU is combing the Deep South for talent that can fit their program's high standards. At Peabody Magnet High School in Louisiana, BYU coaches may have found such a talent in running back Jalen Richard, who currently holds BYU in his top three.

In viewing Jalen Richard's film, he's elusive and has very good balance and speed. The 5-foot-8-inch, 190-pound speedy back from Alexandria, Louisiana has received a lot of attention due to his ability on the football field.

"A lot of pro-set teams are looking at me, but then they see my ability in space and that's bringing in the schools that run the spread offense with that single back," Richard said. "They like to see me in that too, but a lot of different schools have shown interest in me because I'm pretty diverse on the field. When I run I just kind of feel certain things and go.

"I study a lot of film to know my opponents to know what I need to do, whether it's to run over a guy or run around him, so the first guy is never bringing me down. I'm either going to make him miss or break his tackle. From there I'm pretty much on my own because my linemen don't really run downfield much. I have to be a little shifty and I would say the biggest thing about me is I'm really slippery."

Sweeps, spin moves and bursts up the middle aren't the only skills in Richard's bag of tricks; he can also catch well out of the backfield as well.

"What colleges don't see is when I go to football camps and end up becoming MVP, like at the national and underclassman camps and all that, we're catching the ball a lot more instead of running it. On film, you see me running left, right and up the middle and don't really see me catching the ball out of the backfield as much, but I'm really good with catching the ball on swing passes and downfield."

BYU is currently among his top three choices.

"BYU, Louisiana Tech and Memphis are my top three, but I have around nine or ten [offers]," he said. "I have an offer from Memphis and former Raiders running back [Larry] Porter wants me really bad. He was talking to me one day and asked me what jersey number I wanted. I got one [offer] from Blake Miller [Rice Owls], and the head coach from ULM [University of Louisiana Monroe], Louisiana Tech, Northwestern State University down here, South Eastern Louisiana. ULL [University of Louisiana Lafayette] said they want to offer me but they're going wait a bit. Pretty much every school in Louisiana has offered me."

Richard attended a Junior Day at LSU, and apparently the coaches there were close to offering him a scholarship.

"LSU wanted to offer me and they talked to me," Richard said. "They said they did want me but they already offered like six guys at my position in my class and so they're set in their running back. They offered a lot of running backs so they could move them around to different spots they could use.

"Then they started recruiting me back up again once they found out that Ole Miss wanted to offer me. It's that whole SEC thing. They didn't want me going to Ole Miss, so they started back up talking to me again. They didn't want me going to Houston Nutt."

Richard also attended a camp at Ole Miss.

"I got a call from Coach Shibest [Ole Miss special teams coordinator and tight ends coach] and he came down to my school and wanted me to come down to their league camp. I got on the phone with Coach Nix, their running backs coach, and when we were on the phone he said he wanted to offer me right then and there, but he had to wait ‘til camp. He said he really wanted me and that he loved my film.

"I went up to their camp and he said I exceeded all his expectations. I ran hard and ran the forty in a 4.5 flat, and then come to find out I ran that with a partially torn ACL."

He tore the ACL in his knee at the Ole Miss camp, but as it turned out, the ACL had already been partially torn.

"Come to find out I ran the track season like that," Richard said. "When I was running the 100 and 200 meters I used to have that burst, but I didn't have that burst any more. My fastest 100 meter time last year with a partially torn ACL was a 10.7, and that's with feeling I didn't have my burst.

"I felt something was wrong and was telling myself to kick it in, but my lower body just wasn't giving it. Come to find out when I tore it at Ole Miss, it was already partially torn. I was doing well and when I tore it I just got back up and started running again because I wanted that offer. I woke up the next morning and I couldn't move my leg."

The injury forced him to sit out his final year of high school football, and has also kept many premier college programs from offering.

But in three years at Peabody Magnet High School, Richard accumulated approximately 4,000 yards rushing and 50 touchdowns. Last year he ran for nearly 2,300 yards with an additional 300 yards receiving.

"I actually was going for the state record this year," Richard said. "A lot of people were behind me and I almost had the state record last year. I had 33 touchdowns in 10 games and the record was 40. This year I had it hanging on my wall as a goal before I tore my knee up. I had put the record on my wall by Cecil Collins, who played at LSU, then got into trouble and went to jail. He has the state record down here in Louisiana for 396 carries for 3,056 yards in 10 games and 40 touchdowns.

"From what everybody is telling me, I'm a four-down guy," Richard said. "I can run the ball and catch the ball and I'm well-rounded, so I think that is one reason why BYU is looking at me in that way. I need to get back in touch with them because they got in touch with me through my coach and that's how I knew I had an offer from them. They texted my coach while he was on the road. Then he calls me right afterwards and tells me they had an offer for me. You know, Brigham Young University, I like what I'm seeing there.

"Well, first I'm a generally caring person. My character is very good. I'm a team player and I like how Brigham Young has, what, the band of brothers? I always consider my teammates as brothers. I care about them very much. The school that I go to, I'm going to care about my teammates and I'm going to care about my coaches, and I think BYU sees that in me. I've volunteered at the Hope House down here where we feed the homeless. I've volunteered down there and have done some other things like that around Alexandra.

Richard understands that at BYU, living a morally clean and chaste life is required.

"With the honor code at BYU, when people ask me about that, I kind of joke around with them a little," Richard said. "I say things like, ‘You know, at BYU if I look at a girl kind of hard I might get suspended for a game or two.' It's just being playful and joking with people and I know it's not like that, but in reality if I feel that BYU is the place for me, the honor code isn't a major thing for me. If I feel that BYU is a fit for me academically and was a place where I was going to be heading to, then the honor code is going to be something that I'm going to commit to.

"BYU is one of those few schools that has that moral effect on others and tries to aim for promoting a higher standard of living for their students and graduates. They want their graduates to leave there having higher standards and to know there is more to life than just what you know or football. I think that's great and at the same time wish more schools would do that.

"You know, that other schools would help their graduates know that there are more things in life to kids in my area. At school, all I hear are kids talking about the parties at college. Thanks to my parents and the people they've surrounded me with, I'm really worried about work and football. You know, I'm more concerned with that right now and getting that right and living my life right in reference to the Bible and everything. I'm just less concerned about partying, and partying at college isn't the main purpose of college. It's to learn and grow."

Richard is looking at some specific criteria in order to choose which school is right for him.

"I'm looking for a coach that will be a father away from home," Richard said. "Because honestly, they're going to be my dad pretty much for the next four years of my life, so I want to know what kind of morals they live by and what their lifestyle is. That's what is going to set the schools apart for me.

"The academics is also going to set the schools apart to some extent. What I want to major in is science. I love science and if football doesn't work out for me, then I want to be an emergency surgeon or an orthopedic surgeon, so science will be a big thing for me.

"Also, I've been told by a lot of people that I'm a little raw. You know, our football program here isn't a big program and actually we're more known for being a basketball school where we were ranked 14th in the nation last year. I want to go somewhere where I can reach my potential.

"It's basically just feeling out my position coaches and the head coaches to know how they go about their lives and treat their players and what they're going to teach me on the field and with life lessons with them being elders to me. I think those things I'm looking for that will set the schools apart."

Richard said he currently has a 3.6 GPA and was planning on choosing a college in November, but has decided to wait until December after hearing other college programs could offer him a scholarship. Total Blue Sports will continue to follow Richard's recruiting situation as it further develops.

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