Big B Looks to Impress at Nike

The Pittsburgh area is home to a lineman who many believe is one of the more currently underrated players in the state. <b>Brandon Richardson</b> is an intelligent lineman with good feet who displayed his toughness last season by playing several weeks with a cast on his broken hand.

Name: Brandon Richardson
Position: OT,DT
Height: 6'4 1/2"
Weight: 340 pounds
School: New Brighton Area HS, New Brighton, PA

The 6'4 1/2", 340-pound lineman plays both offensive and defensive tackle in high school and could play either at the next level. Brandon prefers playing defense, but he's not going to base his decision on whether a school is recruiting him to play on offense or defense.

"I'm going to pick a school where I feel comfortable," Brandon explained last Thursday evening, "because really, when you get up there, they put you wherever they want."

So far, Richardson has one offer in writing so far, from the University of Pittsburgh.

"Pitt's the one that offered so far. That was probably the beginning of April towards the end of March. They called my Athletic Director and let him know and then they gave me the written one at the junior day. I think Penn State's ready to offer me too. The only reason it's those two schools is that I really haven't had a chance to visit any other schools or get known by any of the other coaches really. Tennessee, Syracuse, UConn and Notre Dame came to the school a couple of days ago. I couldn't really talk to them, but I got acquainted with them and everything. I guess a lot of them will be at the Nike Camp to see how I perform with the drills and everything like that. Miami said they'll be making their way up here."

He also named North Carolina, Boston College and Maryland as other teams expressing interest.

Pitt is recruiting Brandon to play offensive tackle. Richardson estimated that he has been to Pitt about 6 or 7 times. He named Josh Lay, Rod Rutherford and Craig Bokor as some of the Pittsburgh players he knows.

Brandon, who is not sure what position Penn State is recruiting him to play, has visited State College three times. He attended last April's Nike Camp at Penn State, the Nittany Lions game against Ohio State and this year's Blue-White game. He will return to State College this Saturday to participate in the Nike Camp. A.Q. Shipley, Greg Harrison and Austin Scott are a few of the Nittany Lions he mentioned knowing.

He will likely take an upcoming visit to West Virginia. He was unable to attend the Mountaineers Blue and Gold game due to a track commitment.

Does he have an early favorite?

"Since I've only been to two, I really couldn't say who I like more or who I like less. I've only gotten to visit two atmospheres so far. I don't have a favorite, but probably one that sticks out right now would be Pitt. They're talking about me coming in and starting my freshman year because they really need offensive lineman."

Is early playing time something that appeals to him?

"Yeah, because I'm not really used to sitting. I wouldn't mind. It would just be weird. I don't think that's going to alter my judgment for where I want to go, but that's just something to keep in mind."

What else do you like about Pittsburgh?

"I know a lot of students up there, not even ones that play football or any sports, but I just know a lot of people. The thing about Pitt, with their atmosphere, is it's right in the city. I don't mind the urban campus, but I'm always in Pittsburgh and I don't know how I'm going to do with that. I don't really know if I want to go there because I'm constantly up there. I don't know if I want to go that close."

What does he like about Penn State?

"I like the atmosphere. Their spring game alone, they had at least 40,000 people there. They have a winning history. I know last season they didn't, but they have a good recruiting class coming up this year."

Brandon has played again one of the incoming Penn State freshman.

"I played against Shipley. He has good technique. We always go against each other in a scrimmage. We both say that's probably the hardest battle we probably face all year."

Tom Bradley is recruiting Brandon for Penn State.

"He was just at the school earlier last week. We can't talk when coaches come to the school. He was talking about offering to my coach. He couldn't talk about it to me, but I think they're ready to offer."

Richardson did get a chance to talk with Bradley a little at the Blue-White game last month. He and a friend enjoyed watching the scrimmage from the sidelines along with Justin King.

"We got there late. I didn't get to do anything before the game. After, we stayed over at the hotel and then I walked around a little bit. I was with Austin Scott. Me and him were pretty cool. I met up with Justin a little bit later. That's pretty much all we did."

Richardson is looking forward to this weekend's Nike Camp.

"There will be a lot of coaches at the Nike Camp. Last year, we did drills after we tested and everything, a lot of linemen drills, and they ranked my performance there as like top 10 in the country in the high school magazine they put out the week after the Nike Camp. So, I got a lot of exposure from that. I think if I perform well, I'll have a lot of scholarships coming to me. All the coaches that came to the school today said they'll be there evaluating everything."

"Right now, I'm in track, so I'm getting my endurance up. I throw disc and shotput. With the disc this year, my longest on paper is 142 [feet], but just today, I threw like 155. I went to states last year. Shot, I'm throwing like 46 feet."

Brandon at Blue-White game.

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