Many might say that speed is Sheldon Richardson's best attribute, not his head coach Melvin Walls.
According to the veteran head coach of Gateway High School, the Scout.com five star defensive lineman best traits are his character and his work ethic.
"He is a young man of excellent character, his parents have done an outstanding job with him," Walls told InsideMizzou.com in an exclusive interview last week. "He is very respectful, you couldn't ask for a better young man."
While character may be is best attribute, speed might be his best athletic attribute. Richardson was a four year starter for Walls, the veteran coach is very thankful for the opportunity to coach, mentor and teach the young man the game of football.
"He dominates you with all the speed he has," Coach Walls said. "You don't find a big man with his size, speed and athletic ability very often. His athletic ability is short of amazing."
According to Coach Walls, Richardson wasn't always 6-foot-4 and 280-pounds. Walls remembers when the young pup came to his first practice as a true freshman.
"He came in at 6-2 and 250 pounds, he was just a pup," Walls remembers. "You could tell he had talent, but he worked so hard over the years, on his speed and technique, it wasn't given to him."
Walls gives Richardson a lot of the credit for his team's success over the last five years.
"He makes everyone else work harder around him," Walls said. "They see what kind of effort he gives every down and they want to match his work ethic."
Gateway was 5-5 Richardson's freshman season; they improved to 7-3 for his sophomore and junior years. They did a true transformation his senior year, going 9-4 this past season.
"He has meant so much to our program," Walls said. "I'm very proud of him, not only as a player but for the fine young man he has grown into."
"Yes he will take an official visit to Miami," Walls said. "He is an 18 year old young man that hasn't been too many places; he is going to take a visit."
Will Richardson remain true to his commitment to the Tigers?
"I truly think so," Walls said. "Mizzou is all he talks about around here; he loves the school, the coaching staff."
Another reason that Walls feels that Richardson will end up in Columbia is attributed to the young man he is.
"He is a man of his word," Walls said. "I would be shocked if he ended up anywhere else."
Walls looks forward to making the trips to the Columbia campus in the future for Saturday ballgames.
"Oh yeah I will go see him play a lot," Walls said. "He is one of my kids, he will always be. I couldn't be prouder of him."