Inside Jordan Richards' commitment

Recent Stanford commit Jordan Richards might not get the respect he deserves from the recruiting services, but a host of Pac-10 schools were surely disappointed when the Folsom (Calif.) High athlete delivered his verbal pledge to the Cardinal last month.

Ranked only Scout's No. 132 receiver in the country, Jordan Richards had double-digit offers from schools including Cal, Oregon, Washington and Arizona when he committed to Stanford.

With a plethora of top-notch tenders already in hand, Richards made his commitment because, well, he couldn't think of any school in the country that was a better fit than Stanford.

"Right now, the whole reason I committed is because I got to the point that any other offers that would have come in I didn't think would beat out Stanford as my top choice," Richards said.

Why was Richards so high on the Card in the first place? A top-rated biology program and a trio of high-energy Stanford coaches, for starters.

"The energy down there, Coach Harbaugh, [Defensive Backs Coach Derek] Mason and Coach Hamilton," Richards said. "I loved all those guys and I loved where the program was going. Academically it has what I'm interested in [human biology] almost to a pinpoint, so to go along with its reputation academically it was a perfect fit."

Where Richards fits in on the football field is up for debate. He plays running back, slot receiver and defensive back for Folsom and seems to project well at either wide receiver or defensive back at the college level.

"When I went down to Stanford for a camp they gave me the option [of receiver or defensive back] and I deferred the question back to them and let them decide where they feel I'll be the most successful and best help the team," Richards said.

Although Folsom is known for its high-powered offense, one could argue Richards' skills aren't best utilized in his role as a slot receiver/running back. That makes projecting his college position and getting a true read on his athletic abilities more challenging, according to West Coast recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman.

"I like Richards, it's just a matter of where does he play?" Huffman said. "He could be a RB or a WR. He's a little undersized, and I know the Folsom system is ridiculously high-powered, so is he a spoke in the wheel, or a stud that stands out?"

Perhaps for that reason, Richards was a blip on the recruiting radar until spring practice, when college coaches finally got a chance to see the talented athlete perform up close and personal.

"Coaches started making their rounds down through here in Folsom and I guess the word got out," Richards said. "People got to take a look at me so I had a little more interest."

Although Stanford's 22nd commit to its 2011 class, the most recent addition, Richards is the first member of the class to publicly disclose his admission to the university.

"I applied for an early application, did the whole application, sent it right back and it was approved about three weeks ago," Richards said.

That's not to say Richards took the application process lightly.

"It was challenging," Richards said. "It definitely took some looking in at myself, looking at how I wanted to present myself, taking myself and writing it down all on paper and making sure it was still me. It was interesting." And although he has yet to think about taking an official visit to Stanford, or any other school for that matter, Richards has a hard time envisioning himself ending up at a school other than Stanford.

"As of right now I'd say its pretty much a lock…I wouldn't say a lock…but there's no real concern yet about Stanford and whether or not I want to go there," Richards said.

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