Richards Biding His Time

Most parents probably wish their children took their advice more often, but Taylor Richards is one son who knows just how valuable a father's words of wisdom can be.

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 occasions .

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 together."

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 ahead.

"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."
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