Tennessee’s No. 1 prospect has history, defensive ends and SEC on his mind


EDITOR’S NOTE: Introducing O-line week at Saturday Down South. This week we’ll talk to some of the biggest offensive line recruits and commitments in the SEC, get their take on things … and we’ll rank ‘em.

Drew Richmond is another great example of why being intelligent and being an offensive lineman go well together.

Ask Richmond what his non-football interests are, and you’ll get a unique answer from the national Top 100 prospect.

“I love history, anything that has to do with history,” Richmond told Saturday Down South. “More like world history, and then our founding fathers and how things evolved. I actually honestly also enjoy the history in the Bible.”

Richmond is the state of Tennessee’s No. 1 prospect for 2015, a four-star offensive tackle out of Memphis University School in Memphis (Tenn.). It’s a preparatory school that sends students to Princeton, Harvard, Yale, you name it … and as Richmond readily points out—its average ACT score is a 28.

“It’s not easy, by any means,” Richmond told SDS.

So here’s a real student-athlete. Yes, some people chuckle when they hear this label tossed around with college football, and they have a right to their cynicism. But Richmond is one of many cases where the blue-chip athletic side is met equally by a blue-chip academic side. So schools aren’t going to have to worry about this guy in the classroom, and some program is going to get a gem on the field. Tennessee and head coach Butch Jones absolutely positively want to keep the No. 1 player in the state from leaving. But of course, he grew up an Ohio State fan. Oh, and Ole Miss is actually closer than Knoxville.

Oh yeah … and more than half the SEC is also chasing him. His final decision will be revealed on Sept. 9.

“I will say that in learning about recruiting, it’s a difference between need and want,” Richmond told SDS. “That’s one thing you have to figure out about every school. I think everybody will say they need you, but sometimes it’s that they just want you—and that’s the difference. It’s obvious right now that Tennessee needs somebody like me. Now, Alabama? It’s a big school and and everybody will tell you that you’re not going to play that much, but they’re graduating a bunch of linemen soon, so there’s a need there too.”

It’s easy to interpret what Richmond is saying—he wants to play, and early. And he wants to go to a school that needs to fill holes quickly and aren’t just trying to stockpile talent to play in 2017 or 2018. The Vols are certainly a nice fit there, but Richmond isn’t anywhere near a final decision.

“Growing up, I just knew that I was going to Ohio State, that was it,” Richmond told SDS. “But after learning about the whole process and stuff it’s not about childhood schools. I really like them, love them. I want to be like Orlando Pace one day, and I loved Troy Smith and Ted Ginn and it’s a really good school.”

But like the SEC schools mentioned above … he’s still mulling things over.

One thing for sure—he knows at tackle his work is going to be cut out for him–especially if he ultimately ends up in the SEC.

“I feel like when you’re playing on the offensive line, you have to have a certain type of attitude,” Richmond told SDS. “You’re going to go against guys who are supposed to beat you, like Clowney. Everybody’s going to tell you that there’s no way you’re going to beat him, but I don’t care. I feel like as offensive linemen, we all have to have that attitude that nobody is going to beat me.

“You just have to be patient, that’s one thing I’ve learned … You just have to take your time with it. You have to watch and know what your man is doing … and adjust. You make a plan that ‘he can’t beat me’, that I’m on an island by myself and nobody is going to beat me.”

Stay tuned SEC fans … specifically Tennessee fans. This is one guy you’ll want on campus next year.

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