Freshman TE Expected to Play Immediately

Physically, tight end Richard Gordon has always been able to hold his own on the football field. Blessed with a freakish size to speed ratio at 6-foot-4 and 258 pounds, Gordon says the toughest adjustment in football during his first semester at UM has been mental.

"Right now I am doing a lot of learning," Gordon said. "There is a lot of plays that I have to learn—everyday I mess up on at least one or two things. I have always been a physical player. A lot of times I mess up, but my speed allows for me to get back into the right position and make a play."

Richard Gordon arrived at UM in this spring following one semester at Milford Prep, where his school went 9-2 playing against college junior varsity squads.

Gordon primarily played defensive end at Miford, but his most memorable play came on special teams. Gordon returned back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns of 89 and 99-yards. In high school, Gordon anchored the 4X100 relay for Norland High School.

"Really, it happened just because I am big and fast," Gordon said. "There was one where I broke like three tackles to score the touchdown and for the other one I just outran everyone to the endzone."

When Gordon arrived at UM, he expected to play defensive end. But, his raw physical skills were too hard for the offensive coaches to ignore.

"In prep school, I mostly played defensive end," Gordon said. "I thought I was going to play defensive end here, but it didn't work out that way. Anywhere the coaches are going to put me at is fine because that is the position they need me at the most."

Another eye-opener for Gordon since he arrived at UM was the first week of workouts with strength coach Andreu Swassey. Gordon remembers doing squats on the second day of workouts and, "barely being able to walk out of the weight room.

As Gordon adjusts to playing offense again for the first time since high school, he has learned to watch his veteran teammates for guidance. New tight end coach Pannunzio has told Gordon that he needs to work on his blocking because he doesn't move his feet like he should.

"Coach, he really knows a lot," Gordon said. "He has been coaching tight ends for a long time. I just sit back with him, Greg Olsen, and Chris and listen to everything that they have to teach me. They are two great guys. I just sit back and watch their steps and the way they run their routes. I have to work on my routes a little bit more."

David Lake is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at lake@canestime.com


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