Utah target Michael Richardson is a big, athletic offensive tackle out of American Fork High School in American Fork, Utah. Richardson recently returned from an official visit to Oregon, and is also planning on taking visits to Utah, Arizona State and Arizona.
Richardson (6-foot-5 inches, 260 pounds) was very impressed with his visit to Eugene, saying, “It was really cool. Every kid grows up looking at Oregon as that over-the-top, they’ve-got-everything kind of school, so being able to actually go there and see everything that they had — not only the facilities and the jerseys and everything — but to see how long the coaches have been there and what they’re talking about. And to see that things are kind of on the rise there.
“Obviously the facilities and everything were just mind-blowing, everything was top-notch. But the most impressive thing would have to be the longevity of the coaches. Because they have four that have been there for over 30 years, and then six that have been there for over 20 years. So there’s just a lot of tradition and everything there. I was just kind of blown away by all of the incredible things that they have up there. The fans up there are very into it. [Before the game], you walk with the team, they do the march to victory or success, I can’t remember what it’s called, but they walk through the practice facility. Ducks fans are there, lined up on each side, you’re walking through, it’s loud, it’s intense, and you can tell that everybody’s really supportive of the team.”
Richardson also discussed what he likes about Utah, Arizona State and Arizona. “Utah, they’re in the Pac-12, and you can get a really good degree from there. But they’re also close to home, so I’d have all of those things plus the close proximity [to home],” he said. “Arizona State, I went down there in the spring, and I got a feel for that place and all of the coaches down there. I like Coach Thompson, the offensive line coach, he seemed to really know what he was doing. You could tell that he really cared about you, not only as a football player, but also as a person. And then Arizona, I went down there this past July, and just kind of got a feel for Tucson and the area. And I got a chance to talk to some of the O-linemen down there, see the stadium and everything, and it was just a really good atmosphere, definitely enjoyed it down there.”
Utah was the first school to offer Richardson, and the Utes have steadily built a strong relationship with the three-star recruit. “They’re the first ones that offered me, so I’ve been talking to Justin Ena, he’s the linebackers coach there. He’s also in charge of recruting for my area. And then Coach Harding, the offensive line coach, I’ve always had good contact with him, and I love him. He’s a great guy too. Coach Harding, he’s kind of like a wiser old man. He’s not an old man, but he definitely knows what he’s talking about. He coaches you up, but he’s not too over the top, in your face screaming at you, but you definitely get what he’s trying to tell you, and what you need to learn from it.
“And then Coach Ena, he’s just a really personable guy. He’s been there since day one, always telling me, we love you up here, we love you up at Utah, we want you to be a Ute, so it’s just really good, knowing that you have somebody there that wants you. They’re undefeated right now, so they’re doing pretty good. I haven’t had a chance to get to any of their games yet. I’m actually planning on going to the Utah-Arizona game, at home, against Utah. So I think that’s not this week, but the next week, that will be my first home game this year.”
Richardson will wait until he takes all his officials before making a commitment, which will most likely come in late December or early January. He talked about what he’s looking for in a school, saying that proximity to home could play a major part. “Every place is going to have the facilities, it’ll have the coaches and the trainers,” he said. “I just kind of have to look for if it’s the right fit for me, if I’m going to be able to get done what I want to get done while I’m there. Proximity to home is important, but also I could want to go out of state. So that’s kind of a big decision that I’m trying to make at this moment.”
Richardson is the highest-rated offensive tackle prospect in Utah, and could thrive in one of the Pac-12’s spread offenses. “I’ve got pretty good feet and I’m pretty quick,” he said. “[I’ve got] good agility and pretty good technique” … Richardson could potentially take a fifth official visit to BYU, but said, “I’m not 100% sure on that one yet” … The American Fork native said he’d love to play in the NFL someday, but wants a fall-back plan just in case. “You’d love to go [to school] for three years and then be able to go into the draft,” he said. “But if not, I want to get my four-year degree, and then be able to take that and use that after football’s done. ‘Cause football’s only a small part of your life, and you have to be set up for the rest of your life also.”