After I saw Richard Dickson play last season, I felt he could be something special. He played hard, showed very good speed and quickness and he has those great hands. Well, even I'm surprised - as Richard and his dad, Dick, are - by the almost overwhelming attention that he is receiving.
"May just about drove him crazy because he probably got 30-something phone calls," said Richard's dad, Dick Dickson. "In May, coaches could call once. Starting in September, they can call once a week."
And the calls were just the first of the onslaught. The offers followed and followed and followed.
"I think I have around 28 (offers), but I'm not exactly sure," said the soft-spoken Richard. "It has surprised me a lot. I never would have thought I would receive this many offers. Coming into this year, I was just hoping the in-state schools and schools close by would offer me. But I never thought I would have schools from across the country (offer)."
While all the attention was fun at first, it's starting to take its toll on Richard.
"It is starting to wear me down and it's barely even started," said the 17-year old. "It seems like I'm ready for the process to be over with. I need to narrow it down, especially when (the coaches) can start calling once a week."
Considering, as his dad said, "Richard has trouble telling people no," a word of advice that he received from a college coach may be just what the doctor ordered.
"He received some advice from a coach not long ago," said Dick. "He said, 'if you think May was bad, then wait until September. You may have trouble saying no, so if you want to make it easier on yourself and your family, then narrow it down before September.' "
And it looks like Richard is going to do that very thing.
"My dad and I have talked about it, and I really want to have it narrowed down to at least five by midseason," said Richard.
Why wait until midseason?
"The reason I want to wait until midseason is because I want to see how some of these new programs like Mississippi State, Ole Miss and LSU are going to do with their new coaches," said the fair-minded youngster.
Speaking of Mississippi State, what's his feelings about them?
"I've always liked Mississippi State," said Richard. "My dad went there and I grew up being a Mississippi State fan and always pulling for them. They are definitely one of the schools that I will be looking at."
He also likes their second-year head coach, Sylvester Croom, although he is still in the early stages of getting to know all the other MSU coaches.
"I don't really know their coaches that well," said the first-team All-Stater. "The coach that I really got to know well when I went on my unofficial (spring) visit was Coach Croom. I really enjoyed talking to him. I want to see what (he) can do (this year). He's only had one year. Mississippi State was good in 1998, '99 and 2000. They just fell off for awhile. Like I said, I want to see what he can do in his second year. Besides him, (MSU assistant) Coach Freddie Kitchens is the only other coach I talk to. He's my recruiting coach."
He'll get his chance to meet and talk to the other Mississippi State coaches this weekend.
"He is headed to the 7 on 7 camp at Mississippi State with his team this weekend," said Dick. "(Ocean Springs HS head) Coach (Steve) Jones is taking his (team) up there. I'm also taking my younger son, Travis, and a couple of other kids to their lineman camp. They are 7th graders."
This weekend's camp will be one of just a few camps that Richard has been to or will attend.
"He has pretty much decided not to do (senior) camps," said Dick. "He has gone to different camps as unofficial visits. In fact, he road up to Auburn with a friend of his to watch an Auburn camp. He also went with Paul to the Ole Miss Senior Camp. His friend's name is Paul Gunn (Sr., LB, 6-0, 220, Ocean Springs HS). He's a good ballplayer who will end up playing ball somewhere."
Richard has also attended several other 7 on 7 camps in addition to the one that he will attend this weekend.
"We went to Southeast Louisiana, Hinds Community College and Mississippi College," said Richard.
Why has he decided to attend the 7 on 7 camps and not the senior camps?
"Doing things with your team is different than going to a senior camp to try and impress people," said Dick. "This is his team trying to get better for next season."
Since he has only been to a few 7 on 7 camps at smaller schools and a senior camp at Ole Miss, how has he been able to find out anything about any of the other schools that are showing interest in him?
"I just got back from (unofficially visiting) Auburn yesterday," said Richard. "I (also) went to Florida State and LSU. My dad will usually ask me if I want to go somewhere and he'll drive me. I'm really going to places where I can go meet coaches that I really haven't had a good chance to get to know. I was really impressed with Florida State. I really didn't know anything about them when they offered me. I wasn't really looking at them that hard until I went on an unofficial visit."
Does he have a list of schools that he likes more than the others?
"I like a lot of schools," said Richard. "I really don't have any favorites. Everytime I think I can narrow it down to 6 or 7, I'll take an unofficial visit or talk to the coach and that changes the entire thought process."
Once he does decide to narrow down his long list of suitors, what will he use as his criteria?
"I want to say the success of the program will always be in the back of my mind," said Richard. "You don't want to go to a program that is not known for winning. But playing time is also important. I want to go to a school where I can play."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.