During his days at Gateway Tech High School in St. Louis, Sheldon Richardson was the player inflicting pain on defenders.
The defensive tackle prospect hasn’t touched the ball in years but he still relishes the days as a 260-pounder high school when he was a versatile offensive threat.
“I had fun back in high school, playing slot receiver, quarterback, running back, fullback, tight end, linebacker, safety,” Richardson said at this year’s NFL Combine.
“I’m a different person with that ball in my hands. I deliver hits. I don’t get hit.”
Richardson eyes light up when talking about the ball in his hands but he will be the one delivering the pain at the next level as the Missouri product leaves Columbia coming off a dominating season in the SEC.
The transition to the SEC was a bit of a struggle for the Tigers but Richardson thrived in leading all defensive linemen with 75 tackles.
“It motivated me a lot,” Richardson said of playing in the nation’s top conference. “Jumping into the SEC brought a whole lot of offensive competition, which I was ready for. And I wanted to prove that I was ready for it.”
Following the 2011 season, Richardson dropped about 20 pounds and he is now at an ideal playing weight of 290-295 pounds.
Off the field issues have followed Richardson since being ranked a five-star defensive tackle prospect out of high school.
When he’s on the field though Richardson is playing for more than just himself.
From Gateway to junior college and a pair of BCS conferences, Richardson has experienced a lot during his football career but that grin isn’t leaving any time soon.
“I’m from the part in St. Louis that nobody wants to be a part of. I represent what a lot of kids don’t want to represent,” Richardson said.
“It’s a blessing and it’s a privilege, and I’m proud of myself and having my family supporting me _ my father and my mother and my brothers, my cousins, auntees, everybody. They’re always coming to my football games and telling me to stay on it. They see a lot in me. And it’s finally coming together. I’m hear doing something I’ve been dreaming about since I was 5-years old. I haven’t lost this smile since I got here.”
Tags: Missouri Football, Sheldon Richardson
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