Jimmie Richardson is a linebacker that Mississippi State got in late on but seems to be very impressed with. They are currently evaluating him trying to decide if they will offer a scholarship. I recently talked to his coach, Harry Crum, a former University of Houston football player, about Jimmie as a player and person.-Gene
Talk about Jimmie Richardson.
"He is down to earth and as well-mannered a kid as you would ever want to meet. He lost his mother when he was in the 8th grade and his aunt and uncle are raising him. They have done a good job with him. I have been at the same school for seven years but was the middle school coach at one time. Because of that, I didn't get to coach him until he was in the 10th grader. He played tight end for me as a 10th grader. He was phenomenal at tight end but is kind of undersized for a college tight end. He was phenomenal at making down blocking and he had great hands. In fact, he won the Best Receiver Award as a 10th grader. But out of necessity, I had to throw him in at outside linebacker. He played ok that night, but the next week he had a career game. He played outside linebacker and also had over 150 yards in receptions. I knew then he could probably play on the college level, probably at Division I."
How did he do this past season?
"He had a very good season. He made 115 total tackles, 71 solos and 44 assists. He had 100+ in receptions, 3 touchdown receiving and 8 rushing. He is a good fullback and averaged over 6 yards per carry. (He also had about 800 yards rushing.-Gene). In fact, as a fullback he never had a fumble until the last quarter of his last game, when he finally fumbled. That was the first fumble that he ever had."
It sounds like you used him for just about everything.
"I had to use him everywhere. He never came off the field. He played special teams also. We demanded a lot of him because we only had 22, 23 players, so he had to play all the time."
What are some other things you like about him as a player?
"He has great closing speed. If somebody is trying to turn the corner, he closes really well. It seems like he had about 20 total tackles for losses. You think you can turn the corner on him because of his size but he runs so well. He has great balance and great hands. He can catch the football well. I really think he is the prototype linebacker away from the tight end. He fits that mode perfectly. He made All-Dallas County for us as a defensive player. He also was selected the Outstanding Athlete by the Selma Quarterback Club.
"Wherever he goes, he will be a plus for that school. He is one of those kids that will go to school and graduate. That always makes a program better."
What did the MSU coaches say that they liked about Jimmie?
"They liked his movement and his ability to close. They said he has good feet. They liked his personality. They asked me what I thought about him fitting in their defense and I told them he would do well at the weakside outside linebacker. That position is perfect for him."
What did you think about Mississippi State since you went with Jimmie on his visit?
"I think they were very professional. They were very candid, very straight forward. I liked their presentation of the academic side of their athletic program. The young lady that is over the academic counseling, Ann Carr, is a former Mississippi State athlete. I loved the way she presented the program to them. You have to go to class. You are here to get a degree. Their graduation rate is around 70%. I thought that was very good. I liked the fact that they have a study hall for their players, especially their freshmen. If a kid comes there and he goes to class and he has decent academic ability, he should be able to graduate if he is focused. Jimmie is a 3.25 student, so that is something that I think he can handle, without a doubt."
Who are some schools that showed interest in him other than the three that I know about, Mississippi State, Alabama A&M and Jacksonville State?
"At one time Alabama was very hot on him. I thought that they were going to offer him early. The outside linebacker coach, Sparky Woods, was very impressed with Jimmie. He saw him on film and was very impressed. But I think they had another player they wound up going after instead. He also received interest from Georgia Tech early. East Carolina and Southern Miss also looked at him."
To me, based on what I know about him, it almost sounds like he is being under-recruited. Do you have any ideas why?
"We are a very small school and we have never had a player sign with a Division-I school. In fact, I have been told that we have never had a student/athlete from the three schools in our county sign with a Division-I school. Our county schools may be overlooked because of that. We have had a couple of players from this area that have played on the Division-I level but they were players from the city school, Selma High School, which has 1,000 students."
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Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.