The love flows for WSU verbal commit Richmond

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A year makes. Despite a stellar junior campaign at Dobson High in Mesa, Ariz., Washington State verbal commitment Marcus Richmond was looking like the stealth prospect on most of the early recruiting radar. Today, though, he's anything but a secret. On Sunday, in a vote of Class 5A coaches across Arizona, he was named first-team All-State. The week before that, tabbed him one of the top 100 prep running backs in the nation.

Indeed, averaging 7.22 yards per carry and 190 hashes per game --- for a team that won just a single league contest --- will tend to draw attention your way.

And for the 6-1, 200-pound Richmond, who finished the year with 1,900 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns, the attention has been building since September when he started reeling off eye-popping numbers --- 278 yards one week, 384 another.

"I was getting four or five calls a days," Richmond says. "I listened to what they all had to say, but I had my coach tell them I was committed to Washington State." So committed, in fact, that Richmond says he won't be taking any more recruiting trips.

Washington State appears to have seen his potential before everyone else, offering him a scholarship back in June after watching him perform at the combine in Berkeley. Richmond made his verbal pledge shortly thereafter and then all but cast it in stone following his official visit to Pullman in October.

By then there was a torrent of recruiting interest. Ohio State sent an assistant coach down to watch a practice. Hometown Arizona State started calling. Arizona, too. And Oregon. Utah, UTEP, the list goes on.

"I like the family atmosphere," Richmond says of WSU. "I felt like the coaches viewed me as a person, that I could really play for them."

While Richmond is soft-spoken, his coaches say he's a fierce competitor.

His dedication is also something to behold. Last summer he went to bed each night with a football tucked in his arm. Why? Because he committed five fumbles his junior season and wasn't going to let it happen again.

So how well did he take care of the ball this season?

"I had one fumble," he says matter-of-factly.

Cougar All-American Jerome Harrison's monster senior season --- he, like Richmond, also rushed for exactly 1,900 yards --- did not go unnoticed by Richmond. "Playing with an offensive line like that, I feel I can live my dream," he says. Richmond was on the sidelines when Harrison racked up 260 of those yards against UCLA.

Marcus Richmond profile

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