By: Brendan C. Hall, USA TODAY High School Sports | November 28, 2018
Waxahachie (Texas) running back/safety Demani Richardson received his All-American Bowl jersey Wednesday afternoon at his school as part of the All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“It feels great being part of an organization where a lot of great NFL players have come from,” Richardson told USA TODAY following the ceremony. “I just want to thank them for recognizing that I’m good enough to play in their bowl.
“I was happy that they took the time out of their day to recognize me. I’m thankful.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Richardson, a four-star recruit and Texas A&M commit, is ranked by 247 Sports as the nation’s fourth-best safety, and the 10th-best overall prospect in Texas.
Competing in Texas’ brutal 6A class, the Indians went 1-9 this season despite their wealth of talent. Asked if being named an All-American can make up for a disappointing 2018 campaign, Richardson said it might in due time.
“I guess not really, but hopefully next year it will,” he said.
What the 1-9 record also betrays is Richardson’s exceptionally versatile talent. On offense, he carried the load at running back and also took snaps on the perimeter. Defensively, playing both in and out of the box, he terrified opposing ballcarriers with a quite violent style of downhill pursuit:
“I started playing football when I was four years old, and I grew up hanging out with my older brother and his friends — they taught me how to hit,” Richardson said. “I was having a lot of fun, and part of having fun is hitting people hard. That’s part of football.”
And that’s not all. His prowess with the ball in his hands is enough that he says A&M coach Jimbo Fisher might be open to using him as a running back in sub packages.
Other All-American A&M commits interviewed by USA TODAY this fall have declared the Aggies will compete for a national championship in the College Football Playoff in the next few years. Fisher, of course, is set to bring in a 2019 recruiting class currently ranked by 247 as the nations’ second-best class, so it’s easy to see why that optimism brims.
Asked about those sentiments from fellow future Aggies, Richardson echoed their enthusiasm.
“Absolutely,” he said. “First of all, our class is tops in the nation, and I know about them [fellow commits] and they all seem like they want to win.
“Jimbo is one of the top coaches in college football, and Mike Elko is one of the top defensive coordinators in college football. And with this class coming in, we should definitely be part of the College Football Playoff.”
The All-American Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 5 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.