A standout safety for Lake Mary (FL) High School, Taylor Richards currently stands somewhere in between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-10 inches tall. Perhaps not what college coaches would describe as ideal size for a BCS-level safety, but one wouldn't know it by watching him play.
On the field, his opponents undoubtedly think he's a giant. Described
as a "physical player" by his head coach at LMHS, Scott Perry, Richards
is blessed with outstanding quickness, speed, and agility.
To hear him tell it, however, his play is about more than just his
physical gifts. It's about a state of mind his father instilled in him,
and remembering it every time he sets foot on the gridiron.
"My dad always tells me to play big," Richards said. "He always tells
me if I hit hard and jump high, nobody will be able to stop me. So it
helps me a lot if I just think like that."
Whatever the method, it seems to be working. College coaches from
across the country have taken notice of the talented Floridian's play,
as schools like Central Florida, Duke, Florida International, Kansas,
Memphis, Ole Miss and Purdue have stepped up with scholarship offers.
Right now, Richards says he's taking a measured approach to the
recruiting process, researching those who have already extended offers
and waiting to see which other schools may want to get involved.
"I'm liking the teams that have offered, but I'm just waiting to see
what my options are before I make a decision," he explained.
One school that has made an early impression is Kansas and assistant
coach Robert Wimberly, with whom Richards has spoken on several
Another factor that may end up working in Kansas' favor is Chris Robinson, Richards' teammate at LMHS and close friend. Robinson, a
5-foot-9 speedster recruited by the Jayhawks to play cornerback,
committed to the program last week, and the two have discussed a desire
to play their college ball together.
"Chris and I are good friends," he said. "We're hoping to play on the
same team. He committed a little early and I'm still in the process of
deciding what I want to do. We understand if we can't play together and
that's just the way things work out, but we would love to play
Richards, who claims a time of 4.5-seconds in the 40-yard dash, will
likely attend camp with the University of Florida this summer, and
possibly Florida State.
Though no plans are set in stone, he said he and his family hope to
make unofficial visits to a number of campuses in the weeks and months
"Most of the schools actually want us to check out the campus and stuff
first," Richards said. "So we won't make an early decision and end up
not liking the school."
Richards Biding His Time
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