There are some things I've never done as a recruiting analyst. Featuring a prospect still in the eighth grade is one of them. I've spotted and featured prospects as freshmen before like Dorman WR Charone Peake and former Byrnes RB Marcus Lattimore. So we'll cross this one off the list as we've discovered class of 2015, no I didn't make a typo, class of 2015 prospect Tavin Richardson of D.R. Hill Middle School. The 6'3 190 pound prospect lined up for D.R. Hill at wide receiver and is expected to play the same position for Byrnes next season. He is the latest player to be featured in our "UP NEXT" series.
As I said before Richardson is not your ordinary eighth grade prospect. He towers over his peers at 6'3 190 pounds. Richardson started on the Byrnes varsity basketball team this season and while at the free throw line awaiting a teammate's attempt he stood shoulder to shoulder with the aforementioned Charone Peake. Tavin's father, Kelvin, and brother, Torian, were stars at Byrnes. The latter is playing at East Carolina currently so young Tavin has learned a lot of the tricks of the trade growing up. Is there any added pressure of living up to what his family has achieved at Byrnes and beyond?
"No sir, I don't feel any pressure, because my dad has always advised Torian and I on different situations on the field," Tavin told us.
Last year for the D.R. Hill Tigers Richardson enjoyed a fairly productive season despite plenty of attention from defenses.
"I had 25 catches for 500 yards and 8 touchdowns, despite being double teamed the whole season."
Richardson stepped up in a big way on the court for his future high school this season so it in many ways prepared him for the larger stage that Byrnes will present on the high school level.
"I was nervous, it was a big difference playing middle school compared to playing varsity. It was a tremendous adjustment from playing post to playing the 2 and 3."
As of now Richardson says he has no preference between the football and basketball because he feels he's able to excel at both.
The Byrnes staff has watched Richardson grow up over the years because of his older brother Torian being in the program and he talked about what the coaches have said to him recently.
"They said they really have noticed how my body changed from 6th grade to now. Coach Bentley said after the Westside loss (basketball), "That playing in this type of playoff atmoshpere is going to benefit to me.""
Although he has yet to play a down of high school football Richardson says he's unsure of what level he'll start out at next season. He's looking forward to the opportunity though. He's taken what his father and brother have taught him and tried to apply it so that he can be prepared no matter what level he plays at as a freshman.
Having seen Richardson in action we already have a feel for where his game is currently and we asked him to give us his own critique of where he feels his strengths and weaknesses are currently.
"Using my size advantage with catching balls and the ability to jump over defensive backs. I'm good after the catch using my size to get yards after the catch and being a big receiver I am able to be a big time blocker to help my team too."
It's still way too early to talk about schools but the 8th grader has some schools that he really likes currently.
"I like Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida State a lot. During my brother's recruitment I got a chance to visit Cincinnati, East Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi State."
Richardson mentioned that he was highly impressed with Clemson, Georgia, and Tennessee. He won't sit idly around this off season either. Plans are in place for him to camp with Clemson, South Carolina, and Georgia. He'll also compete in April National Underclassmen Combine.
We'll keep a close eye on Tavin Richardson over the next few years but as always you heard about him first here with SCPrepNation.com, the leader in coverage of South Carolina's top high school prospects!