Quintin Richardson: Leadership Personified

2007 USC offensive line signee Quintin Richardson was a special guest on this week's edition of GamecockAnthem Radio. For a player that went above and beyond the call of duty as the undisputed leader and ambassador of Carolina's 2007 recruiting class, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Richardson has already joined the team workouts and plans to lead by example when the other newcomers arrive.

GamecockAnthem Radio aired its' fourth show on 90.5 WUSC FM in Columbia this week. As the only radio show in the state of South Carolina that offers "All Gamecock talk, all the time," GamecockAnthem Radio is the perfect show to help USC fans get their Gamecock fix, especially during the summer months when football deprivation begins to set in. Be sure to tune in every Wednesday morning from 8-12 throughout the summer to hear great interviews like the one below and enjoy in depth discussion on South Carolina football, recruiting, baseball and much more. To learn more about GamecockAnthem Radio, click here: LINK

Interview with 2007 offensive line signee Quintin Richardson:

Question: First question for you, Quintin. Obviously South Carolina still has some question marks on the offensive line heading into fall camp this year, and even though you're going to be a true freshman, you've got tremendous athletic ability that could potentially help them right away. What exactly have the South Carolina coaches told you about the possibility of seeing the field early and making an impact this season?

Answer: Basically they've just told me to come in, work hard and good things will happen. That's just what I'm doing. They know I have the athletic ability, and they just want me to get bigger and stronger. We'll see from there come camp.

Question: It's no secret that you're one of the most highly touted offensive linemen to come to USC in several years, and the Gamecock faithful are certainly excited about seeing you in action out there. Why don't you give our listeners a little taste of what they can expect from you on the football field. What strengths would you say you bring to the gridiron as an offensive lineman?

Answer: It's just that natural ability and the aggressiveness in the trenches. I just like to have fun down there. You'll always see me downfield making big plays and opening up more things downfield. I guess that's it. You're just going to see me have fun out there. There's not too many offensive linemen you'll see bouncing around and things like that. I'm the one that likes to do that.

Question: I understand that you're pretty talented on the D-line as well. Do you think that you could possibly see some snaps on the defensive side of the ball too?

Answer: Oh yeah, Coach Spurrier is doing some shuffling between the defensive and offensive lines. So really, if the opportunity comes to me, I think I'm going to take it. I really do think I'd be successful over there, but it's up to the coaches. Wherever they put me is obviously what's best for the team, so it's not that big of a deal to me.

Question: You mentioned that you like having fun out there and bouncing around in the trenches. That's a unique trait in itself, but is there any player that you tend to model your game after on the football field?

Answer: I've been playing defensive line for most of my life, so really when I started up football, Dwight Freeney was the man I looked at. He just plays with a motor, full throttle every play. Then, when I got introduced to the offensive line, to tell you the truth (I modeled my game after) Andre Smith. He came out of high school (in 2006) as the number one offensive lineman in the country. He's at Alabama right now, and that's really who I got my offensive line-type motor from.

Question: You mentioned that you played defensive line for most of your life. When did you actually make the transition to the offensive line?

Answer: It was the beginning of my junior year. We had some offensive linemen leaving, so we needed to fill some spots. The coach said I could play both ways, so I said okay, and that's how everything started.

Question: Okay, I've got a two part question for you, Quintin - When did you first start playing football, and when exactly did you realize that you wanted to pursue a future in football?

Answer: I first started playing football in 5th grade in Columbia at Polo Park. I remember we were the Carolina Panthers. I think I first really fell in love with it in 9th grade when I played varsity. I knew there was a future for me then. In 9th grade, we had a lot of D-I athletes come out of Spring Valley, and I saw that I could have a future in this. I really worked at it and fell in love with it.

Question: I'm sure you're excited about taking your game to the next level this fall and competing against some of the best talent in the country in the SEC. With that in mind, what kind of personal goals have you set for yourself in your upcoming freshman season?

Answer: No doubt to become a Freshman All-American if everything works out, God-willing. That's the first thing, and basically to help the team more than anything is a big plus for me too. This recruiting class is good and everything, but we're really trying to push the upperclassmen. That's what we see as our job. Coach (David) Reaves and Coach (Steve) Spurrier have been telling us to push the upperclassmen so they become better, and that's really what I want to do. If I get the chance to play next year, then (my goals are) All-SEC and All-American as a freshman. I've got some big goals to shoot for.

Question: I know a lot of the 2007 signees are planning on showing up and joining the team workouts that first week in July, but since you're a local guy, I hear you've already gotten a head start on things. Can you talk about that?

Answer: Well, I started working out (Monday) - the first day. I went out there at 6 o'clock in the morning and ran with the team and lifted weights at 11. It's nothing like high school. I can tell you that. We went out there (Tuesday), and Mark (Barnes) and Cliff (Matthews) were out there. They can tell you that it's a different transition from high school, and right now I'm feeling every bit of that (laughs).

Question: Is it pretty fun being out there with Mark, Cliff and the guys though?

Answer: Oh yeah, they've got the same mindset as me to come in early and work hard. That really shows that we're trying to be leaders for the freshman class. When they come in, we'll have a sense of what Coach (Mark) Smith wants in the weight room and conditioning-wise. So we can lead them in a lot of things, and that's the big plus for us being so local. That's what we really want to do. We want to lead the freshman class, so when they come in they won't be as lost. That's a big thing for us.

Question: When you look back at the past few months here, what have you done workout-wise leading up to this point to begin gearing up for the summer workouts?

Answer: I did the basic workouts. It's nothing like what we're doing out there now. Coach sent a little workout thing that I got through. It wasn't really hard, but ever since graduation and everything, I've just been getting ready to come in this summer.

Question: What's your height and weight up to now?

Answer: I'm 275 (pounds) at 6'4".

Question: Have you set a target weight that you'd like to reach by the start of fall camp?

Answer: Oh yeah, about 290 or 295.

Question: Okay, let's take a quick look back at the recruiting process for you. Obviously you could have gone to just about any school that you wanted to, as you had offers from Tennessee, Auburn Clemson, Virginia Tech, NC State and several others. But what was it about South Carolina that stood out to you and helped you decide to commit to the Gamecocks way back last April?

Answer: It was definitely the fans. That was definitely a plus for me. It was just a nice atmosphere every Saturday, and that's what I wanted to be a part of - a big family. With Coach Spurrier there, he's getting a lot of things done. He's a good coach, and he's also very strict. He wants things done the right way. All the coaches are great guys to hang out with. They're the kind of coaches that are bound to their work. I really like that. That's basically why I chose South Carolina.

Question: I know that you and Brian Maddox both clearly went above and beyond the call of duty in this past recruiting class and were great ambassadors for the South Carolina football program, talking with other prospects and letting them know how they could be a part of something special at South Carolina. Was it extra special for you seeing how the 2007 recruiting class came together to become arguably the best class in the history of the South Carolina football program?

Answer: Oh yeah, no doubt. It was kind of crazy because I was the first one to commit. I kind of had the chance to sit back and see what was going on recruiting-wise. We were kind of in a slump during the summer, and things weren't looking too good. Coach Reaves was like, ‘Hey, call up some people, and let's get this thing rolling.' Then during the season, things really started to click, and after we beat Clemson, it really (came together). I really enjoyed that time period in my life.

Question: I know you probably built some great friendships during that recruiting process. Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow 2007 signees over the past few months here?

Answers: Oh yeah, Stephen (Garcia) is already down here. Travian (Robertson) is already down here. Cliff, Mark, Addison Williams, and Sam Pope are all down here. Then you've also got Melvin Ingram who hasn't gotten here yet, but we still talk, along with Jason Barnes, Weslye Saunders and just everybody. We're going to be one of the closest classes to come in because we all stay connected. (The recruiting process) was fun. We all had fun.

Question: Down at that Offense-Defense All-American game that you had in Fort Lauderdale, I heard that you roomed with Chris Culliver and that you two really hit it off. Do you think that helped Chris feel comfortable committing to USC a few weeks later?

Answer: No doubt. As soon as I got down there, Coach called me and was like, ‘Make sure you room with Chris.' It was either Chris or Carlos (Dunlap), so I got to room with Chris. Right across the hall was Cameron Newton, and he was Florida-bound so he was trying to get him to go to the Gators, but we just had a connection. Then we had a bond in the game, and I told him 'You're going to feel comfortable down there with us at South Carolina.' It turns out he committed.

Question: Alright, I've just got a few more questions for you here, Quintin. Getting back to the upcoming football season, when you look at South Carolina's 2007 schedule, is there a certain game that stands out to you where you just say, ‘I can't wait to play against those guys'

Answer: I'm not too much looking at the Florida game, even though that's a big game. The game that I really think is important is the LSU game in Baton Rouge this year. That's a big game, because I know the crowd is going to be crazy, and hopefully we'll both be coming in undefeated. That's going to be a big game.

Question: I know you're already attending the team workouts. Is there kind of a rallying cry among the players about getting ready for that kind of big test early in the season along with Georgia?

Answer: Oh yeah, that's all we pretty much talk about - Getting better and working hard to win the SEC. That's what we've got to do.

Question: Being an in-state player, I'm sure you've grown up knowing the significance of the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry in this state. Now that you're a Gamecock, what exactly does that game mean to you?

Answer: When I first committed, and then Mason Cloy from my school committed to Clemson, that's really when I got that this rivalry was serious. We were always at it, and we've got a few teachers at school (that are Clemson fans). That's when it really grew upon me that this rivalry is serious. I'm really looking forward to that, and I'll just take it as Northeast-Spring Valley.

Question: I know that RNE-Spring Valley rivalry is pretty intense too. Is there any trash talk between you and Mark Barnes and those guys from back in the day?

Answer: Oh, all the time. We do it all the time. When we played them in the lower state championship, that was probably the biggest game of our lives. We talk about that season all the time.

Question: I know a lot of times incoming freshmen are excited about picking out what jersey number they're going to wear in college. Do you have an idea of what jersey number you're going to be wearing this season?

Answer: I'm going to be wearing my same #72. That's available, so I'm going to keep it.

Question: Speaking of jerseys, what are your thoughts on South Carolina's new Under Armour uniforms that they'll be wearing this season?

Answer: Oh man, that's exciting. Under Armour is just something you want to be a part of.

Question: I've heard a lot of the guys have had some positive feedback on the cleats, specifically. Have you heard anything on the cleats?

Answer: Yeah, I've seen the black cleats that they have. There's some that Captain Munnerlyn has, and I really like them. He tells me that they're comfortable and very light. When we get them in July, I'm going to test them out.

Question: I know you've seen first hand the excitement that's brewing in Columbia right now, Quintin. Everyone in South Carolina is excited about the direction of the Gamecock football program under Steve Spurrier and the potential to do things that have never been done before in Columbia like win an SEC Championship and possibly even contend for a national championship. How excited are you about coming into a situation like that where you can be a part of something special and help USC reach those goals?

Answer: Knowing that we can do a lot of things that haven't been done in Columbia, it just makes me happy, because it will be a great accomplishment for this city. Knowing that we helped to start this whole thing, it'll be a great feeling for all the freshmen. Our hard work paid off in high school, and for us to help this team accomplish something early in our career, it would mean a lot.

Question: I've just got one more question for you, Quintin. Obviously the Gamecock Nation is excited about seeing you in the Garnet and Black this fall. Is there any message you'd like to pass on to the South Carolina fans before you go?

Answer: Basically, this summer I'm going to prepare and get ready for the season, so y'all can expect some big things out of me and this recruiting class coming in. I can say that for sure.

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