From a statistical standpoint, Tyler Richardson of CIF state champion Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete may not have the most eye-popping numbers. After all, the linebacker finished 10th on his team in total tackles with 49 stops in 14 games.
There was, however, one key moment he had in the most important game of the year, which signified that he’s capable of the momentum shifting play.
“In the state title game [against Atherton (Calif.) Menlo], it was the second quarter, we were up and there was less than five minutes left,” Richardson shared with Scout. “Their slot did a quick out and we were in cover six. I just backed up, watched out for him and I hit him – forcing the fumble. My safety picked up the loose ball and ran to the end zone. That was one of those plays that shifted the momentum of that game and got us the state title.”
That first half play gave the Spirits a 19-7 advantage, before securing the 39-21 victory to claim the state’s Division 3-AA title. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound 2018 linebacker now proudly wears his CIF state championship ring on his finger and the pride and tradition of the Spirits on his sleeve.
But he’s not relishing in that 12-4 season that culminated in winning a state crown.
He’s been back on the field fine-tuning his angle pursuits and coverage skills – two traits he’s looking to turn into strengths as he and the Spirits prepare to defend their championship. Richardson, who spends his offseason training with the Long Beach, Calif.-based club team Apex, tells Scout that he takes pride in his versatility.
“I’m elusive. I can play the middle and can play outside,” Richardson said. “With Apex, I can play the nickel with them. When I’m on the field, I like to be elusive and aggressive – especially when people come across my face. I like to take my game of 7v7 as how I would take it on the field: Just be aggressive, elusive and make plays.”
Outside of his punishing hit in the state title game, Richardson is known in the high desert region for filling gaps and winning the pad level battle, throwing his shoulders into a ball carrier’s ankles to trip him up for the stop.
He hasn’t received scholarship offer No. 1 yet, but Richardson says Troy, Hawaii and Arizona State have shown some interest. He plans to visit ASU, Arizona and Boise State this upcoming spring and summer. A possible trip to the island could be in the works, too.
“They (Hawaii) wanted me to take a visit last year but I had a football camp that conflicted with it. I’m going to try to go there this summer,” Richardson said.
One of his dream schools is Boise State, as Richardson cites a former Antelope Valley star as the reason behind that.
“Darian Thompson, now who plays safety for the New York Giants, went there,” Richardson said. “We were in the same youth football organization. Watching him go through Paraclete, then Boise and now the NFL makes me want to get an offer from them and go there.”
As Richardson continues to grind away at improving his linebacker ability plus add another state title to the Lancaster Catholic school, he offered four words to help preview the 2017-18 campaign for the Spirits: “Watch out for Paraclete.”