Richardson's Success Proving to Be Worth the Wait
COLUMBIA - Sheldon Richardson is considered one of the best recruits to ever land at Missouri. Rivals.com ranked him the fourth best high school football player in the nation in 2009 but his road to Mizzou was long and winded all the way to the West Coast.
It doesn't take long to notice Sheldon Richardson on the football field.
"You see flashes of brilliance out of him game by game and i think with more repetition he's gotten a lot better so i got faith in him," said Senior Defensive End Jacquies Smith.
"He's made some big plays and being close up to it," Junior Defensive End Brad Madison said, "there's a couple plays that he makes before i can."
Richardson is playing catch up while racking up tackles and nicknames too.
"There's been a few nicknames. People calling him Messiah just from the hype you know," said Madison.
"Messiah...they call me that a lot," Richardson said. "It's a name they gave me so it is what it is."
But that's not the only name Sheldon's heard.
"Messiah's what everybody else calls him," Smith said, "I just call him Yogi Bear."
"It's because I'm big and I'm full and I got a lot of hair on my face," said Richardson.
Yogi, Messiah, Sheldon are just some of Richardson's numerous names but he had multiple hurdles before he made it to Mizzou. After high school Richardson had to play junior college football at the College of Sequias in California.
"With him having to wait a long time just to get into this program, I think that humbled him a lot," said Smith, "he's seen the process and he knows it's very hard to get here so he's happy he just got in period."
"Team first...it's just how it goes. I'll take it back to me growing up during junior college. I did a lot of growing up and I did a lot on my own," said Richardson.
Richardson says he learned the lesson from his dad who is also his toughest critic.
Richardson said, "I could have 30 sacks in one game and he'll be like you missed you a sack and ride that one play the whole game and make it seem like I had a bad game."
The Junior from St. Louis doesn't let the spotlight blind him, he's grounded and has a simple goal.
"To be remembered," said Richardson. "I just want to be remembered as a dominant force on the football field and a good person. That's really all I want."
Richardson is listed as a Junior on his Missouri bio but because of an injury at junior college he redshirted one season and has three years of eligibility to play at Missouri.