Richard Hopes New UF Coach Will Like Him

Vlad Richard, the four-star defensive lineman from Piper Sunrise (FL) made his official visit to North Carolina State this past weekend, coming away with good feelings about the Atlantic Coast Conference School. The big defensive end with the quick first step was a summer commitment to the University of Florida, but he backed off when Coach Ron Zook was fired.

Right after the Rising Seniors Camp at Florida, Richard was in the Gator recruiting fold, but since Zook was fired he has been looking at other schools seriously. He has maintained his contacts with the Florida staff and is keeping an open mind about things, but he freely admits that the Gator coaches were a big reason he made the commitment.

"Bill Miller (Florida linebacker coach) was a big part of why I committed and I was also close to Coach Zook," he said. "They were the ones that recruited me."

At North Carolina State, he enjoyed Raleigh and the State campus, saying, "I was chilling with the players. It was really nice but very cold up there. Everything about the place was good."

While he was in Raleigh, the Gators named Urban Meyer, the coach of undefeated and fifth ranked Utah, to succeed Zook at Florida. Since he's had no contact with the new coach, Richard is not certain he will be a priority recruit for the Gators.

"I don't know if I am his kind of guy," said the 6-4, 260-pound defensive end. "I don't know anything about him. That is part of the skepticism. I don't know how he will look at me."

Richard's Piper HS team had a disappointing season this year and they went 1-8. His team lost a lot to transfers and also had a new coach. He did all he could for his team averaging eight tackles a game from his defensive end spot. He played primarily as the right side defensive end, but his coach would switch him to the opposite side to create mismatches.

Richard is adamant about getting a shot at defensive end. Some schools have talked that he could be moved inside, but he does not want to play defensive tackle. Florida was planning to play him at defensive end.

He says he will stay open minded with the Gators. Richard enjoyed more than just the coaches that were recruiting him to the school.

"I will definitely give them a chance," he said. "Coach Wick (Joe Wickline) came last week to visit and talked to me. He was reminding me that I chose Florida because of the players, the area and the comfort. The atmosphere of my college choice and where I am going to live is very important to me."

These are encouraging words to Gator fans, concerned that Richard has taken a keen liking to Tennessee in recent weeks following his de-commitment. He would be element of a solid recruiting class for 2005.

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