2012 Recruiting: Terry Richardson Comment Count

Brian May 30th, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Previously: S Jeremy Clark, S Allen Gant, S Jarrod Wilson.

Detroit, MI – 5'9", 165

Terry Richardson[1]

Scout 4*, #14 CB, #183 overall
Rivals 4*, #18 CB, #224 overall
ESPN 4*, 81, #5 CB, #68 overall
24/7 4*, 95, #12 CB, #142 overall
Other Suitors Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Alabama, LSU, USC etc.
YMRMFSPA Courtney Avery
Previously On MGoBlog Ace takes in Cass Tech games against De La Salle, OLSM, and Farmington Hills Harrison. Tim interviews him. Tim Hello post.
Notes Cass Tech (all the people). Played in UA game. Lemming had him top 50.



Also junior highlights and Ace's Future Blue video. But wait: here's another.

Terry Richardson is the short-ish to unbelievably short cornerback who comes out of Cass Tech every year. 

Oh, fine. Here's all this other stuff.


Yea, Cass Tech did go unto Olympus and ask the gods for power unlike any Detroit high school had seen. And the Gods said to Cass Tech, "we will grant you a boon, but all things have a price." Cass Tech readily agreed. The gods provided a phone-booth-sized black cube with black trim and no reflective properties whatsoever. It came with a red button. Thomas Wilcher was instructed to press it at 3:30 PM every June 13th, whereupon a black door that was not there would slide upwards and a smurfy but unbelievably agile guy would stride out, covered in gross amniotic goo.

Cass Tech won a state championship last year. The price was watching all those smurfy corner types go off to college and not do much.

  • 2008: Boubacar Cissoko is a top 50 player who heads to Michigan. He doesn't play well, possibly because he's going a little loopy, then gets in a bunch of legal trouble and ends up in jail.
  • 2009: Teric Jones may be a running back, may be a defensive back, is definitely really small, starts at RB, gets moved to corner, gets moved back to RB, eventually stops playing football.
  • 2010: Dior Mathis is a top 250-type guy who heads off to Oregon, where he's appeared in five games so far.
  • 2011: Delonte Holowell goes to Michigan, where he types all-caps tweets and sees a little time as a freshman.

It's possible Mathis or Holowell will break through but their height (they are the smurfiest of the bunch at maybe 5'8" each) makes it hard to see either being a star; Richardson and 2013 commit Jourdan Lewis have yet to give it a shot.

So there's this background of skepticism about Terry Richardson because Michigan's taken the above plus a number of other Cass Tech guys over the years and only Thomas Gordon has really worked out. Even the generally rapturous coach quotes on offer are toned down. Wilcher:

"I think Terry is learning. He's learning what a big-time player's got to be. I think that if Terry keeps working, he'll be all right."


The recruiting sites do not share this skepticism, ranking Richardson higher than any of the recent Cass Tech defensive backs save Cissoko. Neither did college coaches, which pounded his mailbox with early offers. Richardson had all of the above offers a year before he put pen to paper. While the outlying offers may have been "visit and we'll offer (probably)" type deals, Richardson was four for four amongst Midwest powers. Coaches also thought he was legit.

Yes, despite the size. All scouting reports filed mention his size as a negative. Picking one at random, this from Scout's evaluations($) at the Under Armor game:

Richardson has some very quick feet and he may not be the tallest or biggest defensive back in this event, this young man can cover. He flips his hips well, he stays on balance, and he made great breaks on the ball on day two.

This evaluation is repeated everywhere. Trieu:

Not the biggest corner, but one who makes up for it with his understanding of the game, quickness and ball skills. Does a nice job of playing the ball in the air, and high points it, which helps him get over his lack of height.


Terry Richardson (Cass Tech CB/WR #9, 2012 commit): Richardson's coverage was a big reason why Shane Morris could never find a rhythm, as he was consistently right in the pocket of the receiver he was tasked with covering. … Though Richardson had been battling a leg injury since the regular season finale, and spent much of warmups on his own testing out the leg, he looked just fine once the game started, exhibiting the speed and hip swivel that make him a four-star corner prospect despite his small stature. He was also strong in run support, tallying four tackles, including a textbook wrap-up in space on a play that got to the outside quickly—he was alone on an island, but managed to drive through the ballcarrier and keep him from gaining any extra yards.

Ace's in-person guess at Richardson's height is 5'8".

You get the idea. If you don't get the idea, these links may help.

  • Trieu again($): "showed the same quick feet, hips and aggressiveness we have touted him for for the last few years. For a guy who isn't as big, he does not back down from anyone and plays right up in receivers faces. "
  • Tom Lemming:  "Forget his lack of height. With his anticipation, timing and vertical leap, Richardson can play with any CB in the country. Explosive and confident, he‘s a lockdown corner and a five-star player with the ability to become a standout as a true freshman."
  • ESPN: "Richardson lacks obvious size but plays and competes much bigger. … Knows where he is on the field with great awareness skills and soundly reads the quarterback, routes develop and expertly anticipates the pass. …Has tight, polished footwork. Very fluid and light in and out of his pedal and breaks underneath extremely quick without wasted steps in his transition. Closes the cushion extremely fast out on the perimeter with great quickness…. The area of concern when projecting for the college level is his size and ability to press, defend the jump ball and set the edge as a run supporter."
  • 24/7: "Michigan commit Terry Richardson has to deal with size issues as well …. Richardson was in attendance on Saturday and he met his expectations. He has an ability to seamlessly turn his hips and change direction in coverage and when he has to turn on his burners, he can absolutely accelerate with any receiver.

If you're still confused about the composite of all Cass Tech cornerbacks, you may be the composite of all Buckeye fans. Stop tilting your head.

So… yeah. As a terrific athlete who can stick to receivers in space but is ill-equipped to take on a fullback, tight end, or galloping Wisconsin tailback, Richardson is a quintessential "field" corner. This means he lines up to the wide side of the field, a role Blake Countess took over last year. Richardson's been told that's where he he's headed, with a detour at nickelback possible:

Role at Michigan:  "Well, to me personally, playing corner is just playing corner - I don't believe in any field side corner or the boundary corner.  My role is to lock on the best receivers and shut them down.  But pretty much they want me playing like the field corner - and maybe some nickel back, too - but pretty much field corner and punt returns/kick returns."

He'll slot in behind Avery and Countess. If he beats out either it's time to pop the champagne. He may pass Holowell and/or Taylor, depending on what Michigan does with their other guys. Talbott's evidently moved to field corner; Michigan may slide Taylor over there too to get more info on what should be a heated position battle in 2013.

As for the future, at some point you have to get over the heebie-jeebies about previous guys and look at Terry Richardson as just Terry Richardson, the guy everyone wanted and has exactly one drawback. He's a nice bullet to have in the chamber.

Etc.: Wilcher did get in a more typical coach quote:

"He's a great kid to be with, a great kid to talk to," Wilcher said of Richardson. "He's a great kid to be around, the kind of kid you want to love as a son. So that's where you get a chance to get the nurturing in, and that's where it comes in, to try to make him a better player, a better person."

Why Courtney Avery? Avery and Richardson have the same sort of frame, and while Richardson is higher regarded Avery has significantly outperformed his ranking to date. As a high school quarterback who played very little defense Avery was not well-scouted.

Avery's an excellent underneath corner with the quickness to get under slant routes but a lack of size makes him a guy you try to shelter from one-on-one matchups against the Michael Floyds of the world—you know, the ones Cissoko had no prayer against. It sounds like Richardson may be a bit faster, a bit quicker to react, and more likely to emerge into a starter on the outside, but he's going to seem a lot like Avery.

Guru Reliability: Very high. Healthy, projects to same position in college he did in high school, ton of camps, UA appearance, heavily scouted school. Only slightly negative indicator is a little spread in the rankings thanks to ESPN's excitement. That may be (read: is) a UA game effect.

Variance: Low. He's not going to get any taller and has few boom/bust indicators.

Ceiling: High. Like Jarrod Wilson, Richardson hovers around a B+/A- ceiling. The height, yes, the height. Seems to have everything else.

General Excitement Level: If you'd never heard of Boubacar Cissoko in your life everyone would be saying high, so: high. No reason to project that unfortunate trajectory on another kid. Richardson comes guru- and coach-approved.

Projection: Despite the minor twitter controversy launched when Richardson angrily denounced the idea of redshirting, he should probably spend a year watching. Without a year of weights and scout team action he'll be the same sort of olé-style tackler Avery was as a freshman. Meanwhile, Michigan returns both starting cornerbacks, their quality nickelback, Holowell, Raymon Taylor, and a rejuvenated Terrence Talbott.

With Richardson destined for field corner or nickelback he's not going to be a serious contender to replace JT Floyd in 2013, so the thing that makes the most sense is to let Michigan's six-deep* corners carry the load in 2012 and give Richardson another year of separation from Countess. This thinking may be Richardson's now as well:

Forced choice:  special teams only or redshirt:  "That's a real good question because I think that might be a high possibility and for me to consider my options.  Well, honestly, if Coach Hoke needs me out there - I'll do it.  But other than that, if I can have more time and get my body together and learn the system, then by next year I'd be ready to go.  But it all depends on what Coach Hoke would want."

Richardson's best bet to avoid a redshirt would be winning a return job. Jeremy Gallon's back, so fielding punts seems unlikely. Meanwhile, the new kickoff rules may make returners not particularly relevant.

*[Thank you, Jesus.]



May 30th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

Cissoko got beat up by Floyd, but then, so did a lot of guys. Guys who weren't freshmen. Guys who weren't having all sorts of issues. I think he did about what you'd expect for a regular freshman put out there. His problems were off the field, not on. And I'm not sure Teric Jones was all that highly thought of to being with.  The latter guys...they're young. They probably shouldn't be playing. Think JT Floyd as a freshman, vs. the less terrifying JT Floyd now. 

Brian's right to judge each one individually, because most CBs shouldn't be playing early, even though that's a position that you can. But even if you do, you usually don't look good. Even Woodson took half a season to really look impressive, and he was one of a kind. Other guys like Leon Hall weren't particularly spectacular as a freshman...they just weren't as bad as the other choices.  If you're not in that talent category, you should wait, develop, and learn enough on how to offset the height disadvantage, because you're athletic and cagey, and can handle most anyone not in the Michael Floyd category.  And obviously the NFL thought guys like Floyd would give NFL CBs problems, because they drafted him pretty high.

Fake Jim Harbaugh

May 30th, 2012 at 3:26 PM ^

Deion Sanders UA practice quote:

Richardson is a darn sponge, he's one of those kids you love to have on your team because when you say 'Can I get somebody for a drill,' he's the first one there. If he does something wrong, he said 'Coach, show me what I did.' You love that about him.



May 30th, 2012 at 5:18 PM ^

Talbott was this year's lucky winner of the "Out of the Blue 'That Guy' Annual Spring Buzz (and I Don't Mean like Bees) Award." There was talk of him making a legitimate push to take over one of the starters (I think it was usually said to be Floyd).

But to answer your question, yes. Terrence has become just like that topless lady space vampire from that movie Lifeforce.


May 30th, 2012 at 11:45 PM ^

You bring up a good point.  With Hoke things might have been different off the field for him.  Sure, he might have taken the same path, but Hoke seems to have a stronger influence on his players than RR.


May 30th, 2012 at 5:30 PM ^

Is out of prison and got his life back together.  Heard he has grown a couple of inches and was playing semi-pro ball.  Truly not a bad kid, made some really bad choices and got very desperate.


May 30th, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

I think Cissoko was a fringe case in so many ways that trying to compare him to anyone is not going to be illuminating.

I do think given his size, Richardson will struggle against some of the big WRs, but that's where good safety play and gameplaning comes in.  I much prefer that my DBs have good movement and speed over pure size, as we saw with Cullen (a big guy who couldn't keep up with anyone).


May 30th, 2012 at 6:57 PM ^

Height is overrated with respect to cornerbacks.  You could have a 5'5' CB, and if he has the receiver blanketed, the QB isn't going to throw it to him.  So, if 5'9" Terry Richardson can cover receviers well, you'd need a big time receiver combined with a QB who can put the ball in the perfect spot to beat him. 

Even in a jump ball situation where the throw is perfect, the WR needs to get high enough to get both hands around the ball, but the DB just needs to stretch one hand up high enough to get an inch or two on the ball and it's broken up.  Remember - Jeremy Gallon won a jump ball against a CB who was actually taller than him by 3 inches. 

Sure, you want a guy with all of those other attributes and who is 6'2", but if you can cover a guy tight, you don't need to be that tall.

Mr. Yost

May 30th, 2012 at 9:03 PM ^

But I call bullshit.

I saw Braylon Edwards BLANKETED in 2004 plenty of times...yet somehow the CB ended up on the ground and Braylon ended up running into the end zone.

Hell, even last year, Hemingway was covered quite a bit and came up with jumpballs.

I did a little research, the first CB taken that was under 5'10 was in the mid-late 4th round.

I couldn't find one CB that was under 5'10 taken in the first 6 rounds for the 2011 draft. I assume one had to be taken in the 7th round, but I didn't look through all of the picks considering it didn't matter to make the point.

Height DOES matter at CB...weight and arm length as well.

I don't believe in a magic number (or height), and I'm not saying it's impossible...but it seems that if you're 5'11 - 6'1 you have more tools to be successful at CB over someone listed at 5'8 - 5'10.

If a WR is 6'2, 6'3...I think that 2-3" difference from a 6' CB and a 5'9 CB is HUGE when it comes to being physical at the line of scrimmage or a jumpball situation.


May 31st, 2012 at 12:17 AM ^

No offense taken, but I think you're missing the point.  No offense.  I never said that height isn't important or that it's better to have shorter CBs than taller ones, all things held equal.  Just that it's an overrated characteristic, like 40 times for a running back.  People like to point to it as a predictor of how good a player is, when really it's a lot farther down the list than many other traits. 

to go16blue above, the 5'5" example was an exageration.  Also, using Michael Floyd as an example isn't good, because no matter what CB was on him, the game plan was always to throw to him every time, but that's because even the good CBs had trouble with him.  He was one of the 10 most dynamic receivers in the country over the last 5 years. 

Same to you Mr. Yost - no one could guard Braylon in 2004, that's why he was the Belitnikoff winner.  It's not like there were a lot of tall CBs that year who were locking him up.  Any year Michigan plays a WR who is a 1st round draft pick, they're gonna have their work cut out for them.

I'm not saying being short is good as a CB, and you're correct that size will help in bumping at the line and for jumpballs.  But that's not the majority of plays, because if it were all CBs would be 6'2" 210, but they aren't (those guys are safeties).  And yes, most CBs drafted into the NFL are taller (or more like, not short) because there are enough guys who have all the other traits, and are also not short. 

Now looking at the top-15 CBs in 2013 according to Rivals, 9 are under 6 foot, and the #7 guy is 5'7".  A third of them are 5'10" and below, but only two of them are 6'1" or above.  The two 5-stars that M is in on (and that we would be psyched to get) are both 5'11", a mere two inches taller than TR, and they're considered elite elite. 

Sure, it's nice for guys to be bigger in football, on the whole.  But for a CB, if he has good instincts, fluid hips and great athleticism, the height won't make much of a difference 90% of the time.

Quick Addendum:  Honey Badger is 5'9", and he seems to be doing OK.  Yeah, yeah, one guys doesn't prove anything, but he'll be the top CB in the country two years running, so it hasn't limited him too much.

Mr. Yost

May 31st, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

the majority of top CBs are 5'10 or taller...

And I just randomly watched the 2004 Michigan vs. Michigan State game and Braylon Edwards laid his maize and blue balls all over the foreheads of MSU's shorter CBs.

As for your point...you can't look at recruiting rankings to make your argument...we just rattled off a ton of Cass Tech little guys, none of which has made any type of impact at the major college level. Granted some are still VERY VERY young, but being 5'9 coming out of high school is COMPLETELY different from playing CB in the B1G.

You don't match up against Braylon's, Michael Floyd's and Julio Jones' in high school every day. So a 5'9 kid with good hips can truly shut WRs down at that level. It's much harder when you get to college and you're going up against guys bigger, stronger and faster on a REGULAR basis.

Mr. Yost

June 1st, 2012 at 8:51 AM ^

the majority of top CBs are 5'10 or taller...

And I just randomly watched the 2004 Michigan vs. Michigan State game and Braylon Edwards laid his maize and blue balls all over the foreheads of MSU's shorter CBs.

As for your point...you can't look at recruiting rankings to make your argument...we just rattled off a ton of Cass Tech little guys, none of which has made any type of impact at the major college level. Granted some are still VERY VERY young, but being 5'9 coming out of high school is COMPLETELY different from playing CB in the B1G.

You don't match up against Braylon's, Michael Floyd's and Julio Jones' in high school every day. So a 5'9 kid with good hips can truly shut WRs down at that level. It's much harder when you get to college and you're going up against guys bigger, stronger and faster on a REGULAR basis.


May 31st, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

I agree with WolvinLa2 -- all things being equal, a tall CB is preferable, but give me a 5'9" guy with super-fluid hips and coverage/ball skills any day over a 6'+ guy who's too stiff/slow/lacking in instincts to stay w/good receivers. (Justin Turner, anyone?)

A useful ceiling to keep in mind for a corner like Richardson is Aaron Glenn -- another Smurf corner who was an All-American at Texas A&M and went on to have a long and very solid career in the NFL (first-round draft pick, multiple Pro Bowls, played 14 years). Glenn was generously listed at 5'9" and around 180-185, which is about where Richardson should end up with couple years in a college strength program.