Position: Defensive Back
Size: 5-9, 180
High School: Central (LA)
Classification: Sophomore (Redshirt)
2012 Review: After a very impressive start to camp, J.R. Richardson was poised to have a great sophomore campaign as the starting cornerback opposite all-conference second teamer Kenneth Acker. But Richardson never got a chance to see the field in 2012 after suffering a season-ending ACL injury on the practice field.
In camp, Richardson played with confidence and swagger and never shied away from the spotlight. Richardson continuously raised eyebrows with his coverage skills and speed and made a habit of shutting down speedster Der'rikk Thompson on big plays down the field.
As a true freshman, Richardson was used on special teams as a kickoff specialist where he led the Mustang return game and finished fourth in the conference, averaging 21.3 yards a return.
Coming out of high school as one of the top prospects in Louisiana, Richardson was clocked at 4.35 in the 40-yard-dash and was chosen as a first team All-State selection.
2012 Grade: N/A
Outlook in 2013: With the Mustangs' secondary being incredibly generous in 2012, partly due to injury, the Mustangs will be more than happy to get Richardson back in the starting lineup. If healthy, Richardson has the ability to be a very good corner and possibly the best one on the field if Acker does in fact switch to offense.
Last year, Mustang fans saw Chris Parks have his share of troubles in the secondary especially during the beginning of the season. At times, he just didn't look fluid enough to be a starting cornerback. Richardson on the other hand looks natural in coverage and has sound technical ability. He also plays much bigger than his size.
If Richardson can be confident in his knee and stay healthy, there may not be a noticeable difference with Acker moving to offense. Because Acker is the most proven cornerback on the roster, it speaks to the confidence of the coaching staff in Richardson's ability that they would even consider moving Acker to the other side of the ball. Don't be surprised if Richardson catches the AAC sleeping this year. If healthy, he'll be a difference maker.
Another thing to watch for is whether or not Richardson will assume is previous responsibility of returning kickoffs. Richardson was more than serviceable on special teams but because of his injury, the coaching staff may decide to use him exclusively on defense.
Player Profile Series: J.R. Richardson
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