RECRUITING: Vladimir Richard wants to be playmaker

It is that first step that has college football coaches buzzing about Sunrise Piper defensive end Vladimir Richard. The 6-4, 265-pounder is has that ability to explode out of his stance and that has college coaches buzzing about him this summer.

Vladimir Richard (6'3", 235lb)

"That first step can determine if you're a playmaker or not," said Richard Thursday night. "If you can beat that tackle off the ball by even a split second, you've got a chance to make a play. I really want to be known as a playmaker."

He's grown from 6-3, 235 as a junior to his present size and the added weight is all muscle. He's benching 360 right now and says that his progress in the weight room has been slowed by shoulder problem that he's been rehabbing.

"Now that my shoulder's doing okay, I think I'll be able to improve my bench press," he said. "I want to get it over 400 because that will get me ready for playing college football."

He camped at Florida in June and plans to return to the UF Rising Senior Camp in July. The Florida camp will be the only additional camp for him. He has six schools on his favorite list which he will begin to put into an order of preference during the football season in the fall.

"There's going to be time to decide who's really my favorites later on," he said. "Right now, in no particular order, the schools that I really am considering are Florida, Miami, Georgia, NC State, Ohio State and FSU. I think all of these schools have something to offer so I want to think it through carefully before I start making my choices."

He has a 3.5 grade point average and he has plans to take both the ACT and the SAT in the very near future. He is expected to qualify easily for a Division I scholarship.

In the summer, he's working hard on technique so he can be more effective for a team that expects to rely on its defense to keep it in games during the fall.

"We're really going to be young on offense," he said. "We lost a few players because we got a new coach and most of them were on offense. We picked up a few new players too, a couple from Stranahan and from Dillard. I believe our defense can be real good, but we'll have to be because of our inexperience on offense. I was gonna try some tight end, and I still might go in at tight end on a jumbo package, but mostly, I'll be on defense."

His summer workout regimen is filled with drills to discipline him to stay low when coming off the ball as well as getting better at fending off blocks.

"I have to stay low to get under the tackle's pads, and I'm spending extra time working to get my hands on the tackle before he can extend, then using my strength to separate from him," he said.

He sees his strengths as being able to get that first explosive step, making a quick read and agility which allows him to change direction quickly so he can get in pursuit.

"I sometimes tend to be a bit over-aggressive," he said, "so I'm working on that, but I think that's because I see the ball and just react quickly. But, this year, I want to play under control because I think I'll be more effective that way."

He has plans to major in business in college, just like his best friend Gerald Williams, the standout linebacker from Fort Lauderdale Boyd Anderson.

"He's my best friend," said Richard. "We went to the Florida camp together and we'll be going back in July. In fact, we've pretty much decided that we're going to go to the same school together."

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