The Scout four-star decommittted from Ole Miss on Monday after spending his last official visit with the Vols. Richmond originally committed to the Rebels in September, with Tennessee making a strong push leading up to National Signing Day.
Despite the attention received from multiple Southeastern Conference fanbases, Richmond shared the stage with his Memphis University School teammates on Wednesday, according to head coach and athletics director Bobby Alston.
“We had four young men who were signing,” Alston said. “We tried to treat all those guys with equal respect. It was a big day for all of them. Drew obviously gets a bit more attention than everyone else does. But it was an exciting day for them and their families.”
Richmond ranks as Scout’s No. 104 overall prospect, No. 10 offensive lineman and No. 3 prospect from the state of Tennessee. The Scout four-star joins a 2015 signing class that includes nine in-state prospects and four of Scout’s top 10 players from the Volunteer State.
Despite Butch Jones’ recruiting success in the Vols’ home state, the program lacked in earning top commitments from the Memphis area prior to Richmond’s decision.
“Recruiting kind of goes in cycles,” Alston said. “One school gets hot and then another school gets hot. Kids seem to flip back and forth. Tennessee will always get its share. The SEC always hits Memphis hard and each school gets what they need out of Memphis.
|TENNESSEE OFFENSIVE LINE COACH DON MAHONEY|
“I don’t really get into that much. Most of the recruitment has to do with the kids. So there’s a lot of social media stuff that they do rather than having to deal with us. I know the Vols worked hard to get Drew and I’m sure they’re excited about it.”
Tennessee’s offensive line ranked No. 117 in sacks allowed and No. 122 in tackles for loss allowed in 2014. The 6-foot-5 1/2, 320-pound lineman joins a 2015 class that has five offensive line signees, including fellow TSSAA Mr. Tennessee Lineman Award winners Jack Jones and Zach Stewart.
But despite his impressive prep résumé, Richmond will need to compete for early playing time, which his former coach believes is a decision for the Vols staff to make.
“I don’t really know that,” Alston said. “I’ve never coached in college and I don’t pretend to know what those guys have to deal with. He was a good player for us and played against good players his whole career. So he was battle tested in high school, but I would say you have to trust those guys up there to figure those things out.”