The Volunteer State is dripping with talent in the 2017 class, with Tennessee coach Butch Jones and his staff hoping to snag some of the best prospects before they're enticed to leave. With Knoxville star Amari Rodgers pledging his commitment to Clemson, and fellow wide receiver and Oak Ridge standout Tee Higgins de-committing from the Volunteers in January, Jones is still looking to land his first in-state commitment.
With that in mind, the Vols are working on acquiring the talents of Scout four-star running back and Memphis native Cordarrian Richardson.
"They recently just started back contacting me," Richardson told InsideTennessee. "They're basically like I fit good in their system and I'm a guy that they need to play in their offense, stuff like that."
With the possibility of both Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara both leaving to enter the NFL Draft after the 2016 season, Tennessee will need to stock up on rushers in the 2017 class to continue its dominant ground game. Running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie knows that, and he's formed a solid relationship with the Trezvant High School prospect.
"We're tight," Richardson told IT. "We're real tight. Me and coach G talk about pretty much everything. We talk about football, life, school, everything."
The No. 1-ranked running back in the South characterized his relationship with Gillespie as one of the best of any coach recruiting him, along with Clemson running backs coach/co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and Michigan State director of college advancement and performance Curtis Blackwell. All three coaches appreciate the 5-foot-11, 222-pound back's powerful strength coupled with his ability to break through a hole to make a lengthy run.
"With me being the big back that I am, I have good speed," Richardson said. "That's what separates me from other people."
Auburn and Mississippi State have ramped up conversations with the rising senior, with Maryland and West Virginia also getting in the mix. Richardson has already snagged offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee, among others, with more surely to follow as he heads into the 2016 season.
Will the in-state stud stay in Tennessee?
"It's possible," Richardson said. "If it just happens, it happens."
The Scout 100 back isn't extremely concerned with the trappings of big-time college football. New weight rooms and enormous stadiums won't necessarily woo him.
"Where I come from, we don't have a decent weight room like everyone around the country," Richardson said. "We're standard because we know where we're at. It's not a big deal, but it would be nice."
When it comes to securing Richardson's commitment, he's looking for a reputable academic program coupled with a team that has success on the field.
"There's a couple of key things," Richardson said. "I'm focused on academics as well. I'm educated, so I'm focused on academics. I don't just care about playing time as a freshman. If you work hard, you'll play."