Sometimes kids bring the hats of all their finalsts to their announcement press conference, and they announce their decision by putting on the winning-hat. But in the case of quarterback Clayton Richard (Nov. 15 official visit, 6-5, 225 lbs., 4.7 in the 40, 4.0 GPA/1340 SAT) from Lafayette, Ind., McCutcheon -- he is only bringing one!
Last Tuesday afternoon as Wolverine Coaches Lloyd Carr, Scott Loeffler and Andy Moeller were walking out of the Richards' house after their in-home visit, Clayton's father Barry told yours truly, "Clayton has told Coach Carr -- it's Michigan! We are setting up a press conference for next Monday (2:30 PM local time). Please keep it confidential until 2:30 Monday."
Michigan was Clayton Richard's only official visit, Nov. 15 for the Wisconsin game, so the announcement is not a surprise for Michigan fans. But what a quarterback the Wolverines are getting!
This season Richard threw for 2,920 yards, and he finished his high school career with 10,764 yards and 92 touchdowns in four seasons. He has been chosen for the final roster of the US Army All Star Game in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday, January 5th at the Alamodome in San Antonio. And Richard is Tom Lemmings #27 overall prospect.
In late July this past summer yours truly spent four days at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. watching purportedly the twelve best quarterbacks in the country, including Richard, work out against each other (including, for those familiar with the names, Kyle Wright, Chris Leak, JaMarcus Russell, Tommy Grady, Robert Lane, Justin Midgett, Dennis Dixon, and T.C. Ostrander). As I watched these Elite 11 quarterbacks day after day, Clayton Richard clearly stood out, in my opinion, as the most talented. I must say that this surprised me, and each day when I went back I expected the 'bigger names' in attendance to do better than Clayton. But he was the best every single day I was there (the last four days of the camp).
Clayton had the strongest arm of the group, and yet somehow threw the 'softest' ball -- even as a lefty! The receivers at the camp were just local ninth and tenth graders, and they all wanted to go out for Clayton's passes because they could catch them! He was also very accurate -- even though he had spent the whole summer pitching baseballs, not throwing footballs.
On top of everything else, Clayton was the 'lightest on his feet' of all the quarterbacks, although Chris Leak had the best pure speed. Richard, Leak and Kyle Wright were the most mobile of the group. Don't look for Richard to be a runner however -- he clearly knew how to stand in the pocket and wing it, and at a true 6-5, 230 lbs. he was the biggest-strongest of the group as well.
Richard's one drawback at the Elite 11 that the West Coast observers kept referring to was that Clayton had somewhat of a 'baseball pitching motion' in throwing the football. However, this did not effect his quickness of delivery, speed or accuracy. And at any rate, as I have stated, Clayton HAD been pitching the baseball all summer. I also watched Richard throw at the April 2002 MSU Nike Camp, and there he exhibited a classic passing motion.
Pitching, pitching, pitching ... yes, Clayton Richard IS a MLB pitching prospect, with a 90+ mph fastball. And he will likely be drafted in the next MLB draft. However, this has been a 'given' about Clayton all along. He told yours truly way back at the Elite 11 that, "I hope to play college football in the spring and fall and minor league baseball in the summer. Coach Carr knows this and says he is okay with it."
In this reporter's opinion, Clayton Richard is on a par with Drew Henson as a college quarterback prospect. And remember this: for both Henson and Richard -- for all their physical attributes, their best quality is their brilliant, validictorian-level intelligence.
Super QB Richard Picks Michigan!
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