Wildcats Pick up Pledge from Texas Standout
Wildcats Pick up Pledge from Texas Standout
by Sean Kelly
The Wildcat family just grew a bit larger Thursday evening with four proud new family members and Texas ties. Andrew Richards, a standout Wide Receiver from the town of Keller, Tx becomes the latest addition to the Wildcat Family with a verbal commit to Coach Peterson on Thursday.
"I committed on my trip to Manhattan. I called Coach Peterson and committed. I'm going to Kansas State."
Richards, who already had a scholarship offer from North Carolina, picked Kansas State after serious recruitment from Arkansas and Iowa with involvement from numerous other schools like Oklahoma, Baylor and Notre Dame.
"I had just been to Iowa, OU, Baylor and was planning on going to Arkansas in late July but I really have no need to go there anymore. It was Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma- all those schools but that's all over."
When I say the Cats picked up four new members, I mean the entire Richards family. Although the decision to commit was ultimately Andrew's to make- his entire family has made the trek to Manhattan to see the campus, tour the facilities and give their support.
"We were very surprised I gotta say. Especially to have Andrew commit this early in the process. I thought he would wait longer to make a decision and take some visits but this past trip to Manhattan I think was all he needed to really see and what we needed to see also. This was a family decision and we all talked about it and discussed it and we all are very excited."
Asked if he had plans to take any other visits.
"There is no way you can get me out of this commitment. I have zero plans to go anywhere else. I am pretty much going to Kansas State and am 100% committed to them. I am excited to get there."
In looking at other schools and programs around the country, Andrew's father had this to say about his son's decision to become a Wildcat.
"It really boiled down to this. Coach Snyder is obviously a large part of this and the other coaches and Coach Peterson is what closed the deal for us. As a Dad I could not ask for anyone better then Coach Peterson for my son and it is rather clear. I am not going to lie and say we would not like to have Andrew closer then 7 hours away but I cannot think of anyone finer then both Coach Snyder and Coach Peterson that I would want him to learn from…. There is not another coach in the country who I would rather my son be with for the next 4 years. He is a special coach and the staff they have assembled there, he is one of the best coaches in the country. We have been to other schools and without laying blame or ya know putting other schools down, I gotta say I do not think there is a better coach anywhere, at least that I think. Coach Peterson is why Andrew is going to Kansas State- plain and simple. That staff is outstanding and like a family."
Andrew, who already has ties to KSU's athletic program through current Cat golfer Jonathan James, camped at KSU's summer camp and came away, knowing where he wanted to go.
"After the Camp I knew where I wanted to go. I just had this gut feeling and pretty much knew then. It was talking to my Mom and getting her on board. I wanted to talk to my family but I knew."
Already fully qualified with a 3.8 g.p.a and a 1030 on the SAT- Richards says he will line up at the WR spot and thinks his best position will be outside receiver for the Cats.
"I think my route running and getting off the line in press coverage is where I do best. I am pretty tall so the K-State Coaches said they want me to play outside for them. At the KSU camp I ran a 4.47 forty time (on turf) and Coach Peterson really liked my speed. They are graduating some players so outside is where I think I can play and fit in there and it fits my mindset. I can use my speed to get open and I can get off the line. They want to use me like James Terry. They like to have that big WR on the outside who can go up and get it and that's how I pattern my game."
In visiting campus both Andrew and his father had a chance to look at the weight room and facilities. Mike has this to say:
"In looking at the weight room one thing really stood out in my mind. I did not meet with Rod Cole but I got to meet with the asst. Strength Coach Karl (Kasselman). Let me tell you. The weight room is not the nicest or the fanciest. We have seen some other weights rooms that we newer or more expensive. But when you look at their program and the regiment that they have- it is impressive. What they do with what they have and the amount of improvement they pull from their players. I mean you got to be committed to the program but what they do is amazing. They have a workman like approach and that is what Andrew is like. They get after it and they work hard and what they are able to accomplish is amazing. There is not a lot of fancy there just hard work and it shows. Very impressive."
Having grown a bit over the summer already and currently at 6 foot 3 and 197 pounds I asked Andrew what he thought the best part of his game right now is.
"Well I can tell you what happened at the KSU camp and what the Coaches thought…. Some have that mentality where they want to hit and play defense also. I am more of a run away from them kind of guy but I like playing Wide Reciever. Be physical with them and then have them chase me. I am a big wide receiver and very physical. At Camp they constantly tried to press me and that is where I excel. I will get off the line in press coverage and won't let you get a jam on me. As a wide receiver with press you either win or you lose. You either beat that DB or you don't and I can get off the line and beat press."
At the KSU camp, Richards saw a couple other Lonestar recruits that are interested in the Cats.
"Actually I am going to try and get with those guys. I know Zac Robinson committed and he and I talked and we got along really well. We were teammates in seven on seven. But there are other guys, some from Denton Ryan and I want to see what's up with them and see if I can talk to them a little bit. One thing I know is I want to lead our district. Howard Morrow lead the district at times last year and he is such a good athlete. I know he has KSU up there on his list too but I want to try to lead our district this year."
As for his performance at the KSU camp
"I thought that was one of my better camps. I felt like no one could really cover me. I know Ishie (Oduegwu) and I matched up a couple of times and I think I did really well. Plus I ran a good forty time and overall I just had a good camp."
Keller High School runs a four WR offense and likes to throw the ball. Not the featured receiver last year, Andrew will be the centerpiece of their receiving corp. this year and looks to put up big numbers.
"I would like to get about 70-80 catches this year. I am no sure how many yards I want to put up but I think maybe 700 or 800 yards or around there."
As for future plans.
"I have not scheduled my official yet. I am definitely going to come down for some games. I am going to go to the Oklahoma game but I am not going to use that as my official visit. The coaches want to spend some time with you and talk with you and during games they really can't do that. I am going to go to the game at A&M too. I really want to see that game."
In talking with Andrew one thing is readily clear- this young man is very articulate and takes a mental approach not just in the classroom but on the field as well.
"I like when the DB plays off me too. If you can set them up and give them kinda a move either to the outside or inside and set them up and stem them, I am usually a step ahead of the D-backs. That is one thing that Coach Snyder told me really early. Whenever I went in and talked with him at the summer camp he told me' that I have had great coaching and it shows. Coach Snyder pointed out that it was clear that I had been well coached' and being at Keller we really get good coaching. I take pride in thinking things through, watching a lot of film and studying my opponents and then finding multiple ways to beat them."
As for what Andrew is looking to bring to the his High School offense this year.
"One thing I think is we need a leader on offense, more of a verbal leader and I want to be that presence in the huddle. You know we do not have a lot of guys coming back and I want to assume that role. Kinda take charge in the huddle and be vocal and fill those spots of some of the guys leaving."
Not knowing much about Kansas State, Andrew first became interested in playing football in the Purple and White after a Spring Break visit.
"My first visit to K-State took place in Spring Break of this year with my brother- who goes to Baylor and that was good. Before I went down there I had never been to the campus, I had never met with any coaches or really knew that much about K-State. I had spoken with Coach Peterson before on the phone but I really did not know much about them. Then I went down there. I stayed with Jonathan and that visit changed things."
About playing time and stepping into the program.
"I would be lying if I said I did not want to play right away. But I also feel that the coaches know best and if they want me to take a Red-shirt year then that is exactly what I will do. If they want me to do other things I will do that too. I know I am going to try and come down there and play for a spot. We have some guys leaving. I think of guys like James Terry and that is kinda how I want to play and fit into the offense and be presence out there."
Asked about the college game and any adjustments.
"Hardwork first. One thing I have is a strong feel for the game. Some players are just straight up athletic and they can just win with that athleticism but I think I have a mental edge over everyone else. And I just want the fans to know that I am going to go out there and I am not only am I going to be more one of the most physical players. You know I am not always going to be the fastest player on the field but I am going to try and be the smartest. That is one thing I try to do a lot of have that mental edge over my opponents, and execute."
There is another interesting story to how Richards came to be recruited by K-State and kudos goes out to the coaching staff in the recruiting department.
"Coach Atkinson my High School Coach is how I started getting recruited by K-State. Well what happened is Coach Atkinson actually marketed me to Coach Peterson at a coaching conference. You know he went up to Coach and told him I got this big tall guy at WR that can run and catch and I guess Coach Peterson was interested. Coach Atkinson marketing me to Coach and then he gave me a few emails me and we contacted each other and I called him and liked what he had to say about the program and after that he asked me to come to the summer camp."
In closing this interview I spoke again with Mike Richards, Andrew's father. One thing he wanted everyone to know about his son.
"Andrew is very hardworking. He has a great work ethic and the type of attitude that you are not going to outwork him.
Thursday the Wildcat Nation picked up four new family members and a young man who will be a tremendous asset to the program whether he ever becomes a starter for the Cats or not.
This Story Brought to you by www.KStateFans.com- Where Real Cats call Home!
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