Defensive end Jay Richardson from Dublin Scioto is a raw, athletic player who might benefit from a redshirt year. But don't tell that to him.
"I don't plan on redshirting - I want to get on the field the first year," Richardson said. "I just need to get stronger and go into camp and perform. The coaches said there's going to be a lot of guys rotating on the D-line, probably about 11, and I'm working to be one of them."
As a senior for 10-2 Scioto, Richardson had 76 tackles - including a whopping 43 tackles-for-loss - and was named first-team All-Ohio in Division I. The 43 TFL proved what a playmaker he could be and was a nice reward for a lot of offseason work.
"My biggest improvement from my junior to senior year was my first step - just getting off the ball faster. I really worked hard on it and it allowed me to get in the backfield and make plays."
Richardson committed to OSU last June, picking the Buckeyes over Michigan State.
"It was an easy decision, I've always loved the Buckeyes. My mom is an Ohio State alum and she was going nuts when I accepted the scholarship."
Richardson kept in close contact with OSU coaches Bill Conley and Mark Dantonio during the recruiting process. "Coach Dantonio came to my school in May of last year and showed a lot of interest That's when I first knew they were probably going to offer me a scholarship... I also talked with coach (Jim) Tressel a lot - he's a real personable guy."
Richardson is a bit of a late-bloomer. He didn't play football at all as a kid, not even pickup games.
"My mom was in the Air Force and we lived all over the place: D.C., Guam, Virginia and finally Ohio. I didn't play football at all growing up, not until high school. Well, I did play one year in middle school, but I had no idea what I was doing yet."
When did it first hit him that he might have a future in the sport?
"Probably my sophomore year, my first year at Scioto (transferred from Worthington Kilborne). That's the first time I really felt comfortable out there."
Richardson is a lanky kid, but plans to add some bulk to his frame.
"Right now, I'm about 6-6, 250. I can bench 315 and I'm just really focused on getting stronger between now and fall camp."
Richardson, who runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds, has already started working out on OSU's strength and conditioning program. He took some time off for spring break (the week of March 31-April 6), but plans on hitting the weights hard once he returns.
"I am going to take the week off and go down to Florida, but when I get back, it's all football."
Richardson already knows several of his fellow OSU recruits.
"I know most of them and they're all cool guys. I'm looking forward to hanging out with them at the North-South and Big 33 games this summer."
The Dublin Scioto product didn't follow any of the recruiting hype and was surprised to learn that OSU's class was ranked No. 2 in the nation.
"That's huge, I didn't even know we were ranked that high until after signing day. I saw it in the paper and I was like, wow!"
But Richardson knows with that ranking comes some lofty expectations.
"We've set the bar high and now we have a lot to live up to, no question about it."
Other than improving his strength, what does Richardson need to work on between now and fall camp?
"My overall technique. I need to be more sound and stay low. My coaches (at Scioto) really worked with me on staying low and getting leverage."
Richardson, who won't have too far to drive, plans to take in a few days of OSU spring practice later this month.
"Oh yeah, I'll be over there a couple of days - maybe every other day."
Richardson was a starter on Scioto's 19-2 basketball team his year, averaging about six points and eight boards per game. He lists playing hoops with his friends as one of his favorite hobbies, along with drawing and playing video games.
Now he's just biding his time until freshmen report in late July.
"Oh yeah, I'm really excited. I can't wait."
Player Spotlight - Jay Richardson
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